You might be realizing that you will be working from home for longer than you had originally planned. For some companies, it looks like WFH is here to stay, at least for a while anyway. With that in mind, here are our tips to help you keep working productively from home.
(Psst! If you missed our first post on this topic, you can check it out here!)
1. Make your workspace work for you
While setting up shop on the couch might have seemed like a great idea two months ago, weeks of poor back support might be starting to take its toll on your body and your productivity. Now is a great time to rethink the work environment you are creating for yourself. Would you be more focused sitting in another room? What about facing a different direction, or in a different chair? Take a moment to reconsider your workspace, and actually fix any issues you have been having with it. Kitchen too messy? Try moving to the living room. Keep getting distracted by looking out the window? Turn your desk so you’re facing the other way. If you are getting tired of your work environment, it will have a significant impact on your productivity, so buy some flowers, tidy up the space, and make it work for you.
Note: Even if you live in a tiny apartment, or you don’t have a lot of extra space to move things around, this still applies. You can add better lighting, some nice pictures, or just move your makeshift desk into a different corner of your tiny bedroom. Mix it up as best you can.
2. Refresh your boundaries
Even big companies like Google and Twitter are realizing that people can be much more efficient when working from home, especially when they don’t have to worry about a commute, juggling child pick ups, etc. However, it can be easy to blur the line between home and work when you’re working from your house. If you are having a hard time unplugging at the end of the day, take this time to reset your boundaries. Schedule a personal call at the end of the day for a hard stop. Whether it’s calling your mom to check on her or planning another Zoom happy hour with your friends, having a hard stop will create that boundary for you and help you create a little distance between work and home mode. Also, do not do work on the weekends -- take that time to get outside, bake some treats, or just chill out.
3. Get dressed!
I know, the temptation to toss on the same pair of leggings again is strong. However, taking the time to get dressed properly in the morning can actually be a key psychological cue that helps you stay focused while you work. If full hair and makeup simply isn’t happening for you, that’s okay! Start by wearing your favorite pair of jeans, or work shirt one day.
4. Take. A. Break.
Your ability to focus actually improves when you take regular breaks from the task you are working on. It’s also really important for fighting fatigue, and keeping your brain from getting too tired. Make sure you are getting up at least once every hour to stretch and walk around. Need some inspiration? You can try Nurse Suzie’s yoga for daily stress relief here.
5. Go easy on the screens
One tricky part about working from home is all the screen time. Meetings with coworkers, which usually function as a break from your computer, are now taking place online. If you find you have a headache at the end of every day, you may be suffering from digital eye strain. Other symptoms include red, or itchy eyes, or dry eyes, and it’s thought to be caused by overexposure to blue light. A nagging headache can make getting your work done incredibly difficult, so it’s important to do what you can to limit your exposure to blue light.
You can do this by...
- Limiting screen time when you are not working. If you absolutely cannot avoid your electronics for work, it is that much more important to unplug when you are off the clock. Being on a device all day and all night can have dramatic effects on your health and mental well being. Try to avoid spending hours scrolling through your phone after work, and instead try reading a new book, doing some relaxing yoga, or doing a puzzle to destress.
- Remembering to blink! When we spend extended periods of time looking at screens, we often forget to blink which makes the experience of dry eye that much worse. Put a little note near your workspace that reminds you to blink -- this will help keep your eyes refreshed.
- Buy blue light glasses. Blue light glasses help block the amount of blue light that reaches your eyes, and you can find them at most major retailers, especially places like Amazon. You can also purchase a blue light filtering screen for your laptop or desktop, which will help block the amount of blue light reaching your eyes in the first place.
- Don’t use your devices right before bed. Studies indicate that using blue light-emitting devices before you go to sleep can contribute to sleep issues like insomnia, and disrupt your natural ability to fall asleep. Make an effort to turn off your phone at least an hour before you go to sleep. This will help you get a better night’s sleep and wake up feeling refreshed.
Working from home can be tough, and doing it during a global crisis is definitely no easy task. Remember to be kind to yourself and to your body. Try to get outside once a day, remember to exercise, and drink plenty of water. As we transition to a new normal, we hope these tips help keep you centered.
As always, if you have any questions, concerns, or just want to chat, you can always reach us via our chat portal or at firstname.lastname@example.org.