For many people, working or studying from home has changed from being a temporary situation to the new norm for the time being. This has been a huge adjustment for everyone. Working from home is not a new concept, but working from home during a global health pandemic has created different challenges that have not been encountered before. After reading lists and list of tips for working from home, many of which were written before the pandemic, and experiencing working from home for the last 5 months, these are my 5 working from home tips.
1. Set up your ideal space
Finding the perfect workspace at home is going to look different for everyone. Some may have a quiet home office already established. For others, space may be a little tight and you may have to be a little more creative to come up with your workspace. Finding the right work setup may take some trial and error. Some people may need consistency in working in the same space in the home every day. Others may want to create pop up work spaces to get a fresh environment and to mix it up. You may opt to work in the center of your home to be able to monitor kids and pets, but also have a second space to take video calls and meetings. It is key that the space you create aids your productivity.
2. Stay hydrated
Human adults are made up of 60% water. In an article by H.H. Mitchell in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, two of our most vital organs, the brain and heart, are made up of 73% water. Drinking water is vital for our entire body to function smoothly. In fact, chronic dehydration can cause fatigue, foggy memory, irritability and gastrointestinal problems, along with issues for major organs. Working from home is already a challenging situation, so doing something as simple as drinking water will help keep your body feeling great. Start by drinking plenty of water right when you wake up. To help jumpstart your brain after spending a night sleeping without drinking any water. Continue to drink water throughout your day.
3. Honor relationships
Spending the majority of your time at home can make you start to feel lonely. Even if you are going into the office, you may still feel lonely with less people working in the same physical space. Connecting with others is important during this time. Not only connecting with your co-workers, but also your family, friends, children and pets. These relationships are more important now than ever. Make time in your calendar to honor these relationships. Have conversations with your managers or human resource partners about how you can honor your relationships with the family you live with while working. Be open about your obligations to those you live with. Make time to find those water cooler moments with your co-workers. Remember, everyone is experiencing struggles to find balance in this new normal.
Movement should be a critical task on your everyday to-do list. Office spaces are designed to try to promote correct sitting or standing posture while your at-home work spaces might not have you sitting with the best posture. Sitting for long periods of time will create stress and strain on your body. Getting up to move and stretch can help to counteract this stress. Set up reminders on your calendar to move or get up and stretch. You can even add in a short exercise during your lunch break. Focus on stretching your hands, wrists, neck, shoulders and even your legs. Moving will help boost your energy and reset your mind to refocus on work. Check out the resources below for some ways to stretch and move.
Remotely working will inevitably lead to more screen time. Meetings that used to be held in person have pivoted to video calls and most communication is done on computers. If you are like me, you end up catching up on social media on your phone during breaks. Take a rest from the screens by adding some new routines or rituals. One of the pros of being home for work is not having to commute every day. Use that time you would be spending driving to unplug from technology. Before or after work, pick up a real book, go for a walk, play with pets, write in a journal, learn to cook, or get your hands dirty tending to plants. The list can go on and on. Unplugging will help you bring back some of that much needed thought space in your head for self-care.