1. Try to use ergonomic equipment
If you use a laptop, you can create a portable ergonomic workstation with the following equipment:
- Laptop stand to elevate your screen to eye level
- Separate keyboard
- Separate mouse
2. Know good posture and positioning guidelines so you can improvise
Knowing how to align yourself correctly in front of your computer is vital. If you do not have access to ergonomic equipment, you can improvise, using standard items in the home to ensure your workspace is optimised for your safety and comfort.
For example, you could prop up your laptop screen with books or find a cushion to support your lumbar spine if your chair isn’t very comfortable.
Above all, keep changing position and moving around; most sitting-related musculoskeletal injuries occur due to prolonged postures and repetitive movements.
3. Set aside an area that’s just for you
If you’re working from home, one of the biggest challenges you may face is finding a space that’s free from distractions and comfortable enough for you to concentrate in. You may need to spend some time rearranging your home to get this right. Consider clearing unused corners and spare rooms to create a temporary office. Just having your own space will immediately help you to focus and get into work mode.
4. Set boundaries with other members of your household
It’s important that anyone you share your home with understands that just because you’re at home, it doesn’t mean you’re necessarily available for impromptu chats or household chores. This doesn’t have to mean being completely inflexible and anti-social. It can help to set out blocks of time that you dedicate to uninterrupted work and take breaks around this time to spend with your family.
5. Move and stretch regularly
This isn’t the same as exercise. Going for a run in the morning is all well and good, but what if you spend the rest of the day hunched over your laptop? Scientific studies show that frequent movement is just as important as high intensity exercise for good health. Every twenty minutes or so, stand up, shake your body out, do a few shoulder and neck rolls and take a brisk walk, even if it’s just to the kitchen for a cup of tea.
6. Stay in touch with colleagues
If you’re not used to remote working, the sudden isolation can feel daunting. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of IT systems and networks to stay in touch with your colleagues. It’s important to try to keep up the workplace socialising, even if it is virtual. You don’t always have to talk about work, in fact, some of the best ideas come to us in informal, entirely unrelated chats.
7. Switch off after hours
Keeping a good work-life balance can be tricky if your workplace is your home. How do you know when to switch off? With homeworking, the lines are blurry. To avoid burning out or feeling constantly anxious when you should be winding down, be strict with yourself. Set yourself a “home time” to log off and finish working for the day.
8. Find what works for you to stay calm and focused
We all respond differently to change and stress. It’s important that you consider how you’re reacting to the necessity of remote working.
Are you feeling lonely or anxious? Coping strategies are different for everyone. You could try a guided meditation online, explore some mindfulness and grounding techniques, give yoga a go or get in touch with your creative side to find an outlet.
9. Don’t take on more than you can manage
It may be tempting to take on more work than usual while working from home. Remember that the most important thing is your health and wellbeing. Don’t run yourself down – you can only take on so much. Take each moment as it comes and focus on simply doing what you can.
10. Eat healthily and exercise regularly
At home it may be tempting to keep visiting the fridge for snacks. With immediate access to food and no colleagues around to hold you accountable, it’s a slippery slope to feeling unhealthy. Try to avoid overeating sugary, fatty snacks. Stock up on healthy foods like nuts, seeds and fruit so you always have a nutritious option available when you find yourself raiding the cupboards. Keeping your body healthy will help you stay focused.
By developing healthy working habits, moving lots, drinking plenty of water and adopting good postures, you’re less likely to suffer as a result of working remotely. You’ll find it easier to focus and be productive, and you may even be grateful for the comforting, relaxed surroundings.