Working from Home: Tips for Productivity, Mental Health and Staying Healthy
Author: Lisa Goodwin
As many of us continue to work from home due to COVID-19, it is important to make sure you are taking care of yourself. According to a recent article in Bloomberg, the pandemic workday is 48 minutes longer, the number of meetings has increased by 13%, and people are sending on average 1.4 more emails per day to their colleagues. As we all are logging these hours from our couch, dining room table, or whatever makes up your office space these days, it is important to pay attention to some general health and safety guidelines to ensure you’re setting yourself up for success in the long run. None of us know how long this pandemic will go, and some people are already forecasting working from home well into 2021. Below are some health and safety tips for productivity, mental health, and staying healthy for your reference.
Create a Morning Routine
Humans are creatures of habit—and that’s partly because routine helps us mentally and physically prepare for things. Whether it’s having a cup of coffee every morning, doing some morning stretches, or taking your dog on a walk, creating a morning routine can greatly help you get ready for the workday at home.
Remember to Take a Break
Just like any working environment, giving yourself breaks is incredibly important to let your brain and body recharge. While working from home, you may be doing less moving and standing than you would in the office. Just as if you were in the office, get up, stretch, move around for a little bit. Studies have shown that breaks can actually significantly improve productivity levels and a person’s ability to focus.
"Show Up" to Meetings and Be Heard
When appropriate, make sure to let people know you are on a call. Use your video feature, especially during internal meetings. You are already distanced from your colleagues, so the video feature is a great way to feel more connected to colleagues.
Keep Ergonomics in Mind
Not everyone has a full office set up at their home. However, whether you’re working in a dedicated home office or at your kitchen table, good ergonomics is necessary to maintain good overall health and help prevent back, shoulder, and neck pain. To set up your home workstation, here are some tips:
• Adjust your chair so your feet rest on the floor and your knees are level with your hips. If your chair doesn’t offer proper lumbar support, put a cushion or pillow between the curve of your back and the back of your chair.
• Keep everything you’ll need for the day, including your phone and documents, close to your body to avoid unnecessary stretching.
• Keep your wrist in a straight position – not bent up or down – when typing.
• Use your computer as your phone as much as possible (or a headset). This will prevent you from cradling your cell phone between your neck and shoulder.
• Keep your screen about an arm’s length in front of you.
• Be mindful of lighting. Avoid glare by keeping bright light sources to the side of your screen.
Don't Hesitate to Ask for Help
Reach out to your company to see if they can assist you with proper office setups. See if you can get a portable standup desk, or an office chair, anything to make your setup feel more comfortable.