You may love it or hate it, but the concept of working from home is here to stay. With no end to the coronavirus pandemic in sight, the millions of Americans that have transitioned to remote work will have to keep on doing so until a vaccine or a cure is found. Even in a post-COVID-19 world, telecommuting will likely continue to be relevant as a cost-effective, highly beneficial alternative to traditional workplaces.
Whichever side of the argument you’re on, it looks like we’re all going to be here for the long haul. Given that, it can’t hurt to make an effort to improve your current situation. From forming healthier habits to enhancing your environment, here are 3 tips on how to enhance the home-based work experience:
Set a routine.
One of the biggest advantages of working from home is the freedom from the usual morning trappings. No traffic to beat means no reason to get up before the sun is out! There’s also no need to keep up appearances because, hey, no one’s going to be around to judge you for not having showered or brushed your teeth. You can roll right out of bed and clock straight into work. And if you keep your laptop or computer by your bedside, you can work in bed, no rolling out necessary.
It’s worth noting, though, that having no separation between work and non-work time can do a number on you mentally and emotionally. Many remote workers complain of an inability to maintain a healthy balance between life and work and often claim that they have trouble “turning off”. Having a routine and maintaining regular hours can go a long way towards addressing the issue. They provide much-needed structure so that your brain knows when to shift into the appropriate modes.
Google recommends creating “work triggers” such as getting a quick workout in, making breakfast, or finishing your first cup of coffee to ready yourself for the day. Stay productive by avoiding non-work-related tasks during your designated work time, as these can disrupt your flow and take you out of “the zone”. Similarly, consistent and repetitive actions that signal the end of your day can help your brain shut off for leisure time and rest. For this, try a relaxing walk around the block or a post-workday stretch.
Another benefit of working from home is getting to wear whatever you want. You can show up to the “office” in nothing but the same pair of sweats you wore to bed and no one would know! Still, the clothes that you wear can have an effect on your mood and disposition for the day. It’s worth getting out of your pajamas, at the very least, if for nothing else than to look presentable during a video conference call.
Most guys working from home are leaning heavily into athleisure, which is appropriate for both lazing in and working out. Once upon a time, they were even suitable for wearing in polite company. Attack your workday in a Rocky-inspired hoodie and joggers combo. Finish the ensemble off with relaxing socks for men by Burlix that you can effortlessly take from launch to lunge to lounge.
Optimize your workspace.
One of the most obvious challenges of working from home is that the furniture and environment isn’t exactly optimized for productivity. Many remote workers complain of sustained pain and discomfort only a couple of weeks after shifting from office desks and swivel chairs to breakfast bars and stools. Additionally, it can be hard to focus on work with family members walking around or children demanding attention.
Making simple ergonomic adjustments at home can vastly improve comfort and boost your productivity. First, choose a quiet spot at home as your work area. Try to avoid working from bed or sinking into the couch, as these can set a precedent for developing sedentary habits. It’s also terrible for your posture!
Next, find a seat and a desk that allows you to sit comfortably. You’ll want them to be the appropriate height relative to each other so that when seated with your elbows on the desk, your hands, wrists, and forearms are parallel to the floor in a straight line. To address dangling feet, use a footrest or create a makeshift one with a stack of books or an old crate.
A laptop stand can help lift your screen to eye-level, reducing strain on your neck and shoulders. To minimize back pain, you might want to consider investing in an orthopedic or posture seat cushion.
You can upgrade virtually every element of your work from home experience, but it’ll all be for naught if you don’t practice self-care. Yes, it will be easier to binge on unhealthy snacks when they’re so close. Yes, you will be tempted to skip your workouts in favor of watching another episode of that show you’ve been bingeing. However, making an effort to eat right and stay active will keep you healthy, sustain your productivity levels, and hold stress at bay. Our final tip to improve your work from home experience is to just be kind to yourself. It’s all you can do during these challenging times.