With so many of us working, studying and connecting from home this year, it’s more important than ever to make sure your space not only suits you, motivates you and inspires you, but that it’s set up safely. By keeping a few key things in mind and making sure you’re plotting out healthy work hours and break times throughout your day, you’ll find you’ll feel so much better and your productivity should follow.
Working from home can certainly blur the line between work and personal life, and it’s important to maintain that boundary as much as you can. It doesn’t take a lot to ensure your work or study spaces (and the way you approach your time in these spaces) are the best they can be for your productivity, health and wellness – and happiness and harmony! But to make things easier, we’ve done our research and put together some handy tips for you – no matter what your situation.
SETTING UP YOUR PHYSICAL SPACE
Try to find a dedicated and comfortable spot to work that you can associate with your work or study and ‘leave’ that space when you’re done for the day. It’s essential to ‘go home’, even when you’re already there (even if that just means pushing your chair under your desk or switching off your computer at the end of a day) – we know it’s not always possible to have a separate space!
- Make sure your workstation is set up appropriately with suitable height for good posture, that it’s uncluttered and well lit.
- Check that your chair height is such that your feet are comfortably flat on the floor, thighs are approximately horizontal, and the lower legs are approximately vertical
- Make sure you are sitting with the correct sitting posture – upright or slightly reclined, maintaining a slight hollow in lower back.
- Check that your computer screen is positioned so that the top of the screen is level, or slightly lower than your eyes when sitting upright.
- Ensure there is space under your desk that’s free from obstacles to enable safe and comfortable location and movement of your legs (we know these obstacles can often include pets and children as well – so just do your best!)
- Check the level of lighting around you is sufficient for any visual tasks to be completed without eye strain or glare.
- Check that you’ve got enough fresh air, ventilation and the temperature is comfortable and adjust accordingly – if possible.
- Play music or listen to the radio to create a more harmonious working environment.
- Consider talking to your manager about accessing any of the correct equipment you need – it’s in their (and your) best interest to set you up for success!
KEEP MOVING AND BREAK REGULARLY
- Take breaks every 30 minutes and stand at least once per hour. These don’t have to be long breaks but you’ll find your motivation increases and you’ll be so much more productive if you can break regularly
- Ensure your breaks involve stretching and changing of posture, and possibly alternating activity each time – a walk around the block, play with the kids, a run with the dog, even a few star jumps or hanging out the washing will do!
- Break up long periods of continuous computer use by performing other tasks – mix it up to keep yourself motivated.
- Use outdoor spaces where possible when you take breaks and try to incorporate some exercise or other activity as part of your working day.
LOOK AFTER YOUR MENTAL WELLNESS AND STAY CONNECTED
The connection we get form human interaction, in person, is hard to replicate, but it’s important to maintain lines of communication while working from home. Ensure you keep those ‘water cooler’ conversations going with regular video chats or phone calls. Check in on your workmates as well.
- It’s important to get the balance right on how regularly you communicate with your manager and colleagues. Find what works for you and your team.
- Identify the most appropriate and efficient uses for different
communication channels to support your work and how you stay connected.
- Just as you would if you were communing to work, it’s important to establish boundaries around your work hours with your partner, children and/or house mates (and yes, children and pets where possible).
- Let your family and friends know they can’t interrupt you during your work times, and let your colleagues know your working hours.
- Schedule regular meetings and catch ups with your manager, team and/or clients to help you maintain ongoing contact and foster positive working relationships.
- Identify any potential distractions and put strategies in place to minimise them, for example separating your workstation from the rest of the house/children/pets/house mates etc. Again, we know this isn’t always possible – but something to keep in mind.
- Set aside a few minutes at the end of every day to unpack the day and reflect on it. What worked and what didn’t? What will you change tomorrow?
STICK TO A ROUTINE
- Maintain a schedule and try to stick to something that’s at least similar to what your normal working day looks like – or if something works better than that, sick to that. It’s completely up to you. And of course, if you can’t stick to it – don’t beat yourself up about it. Just do your best.
- Decide on the times you will start and finish work each day and try to be consistent throughout the week.
- Segment the day by working in chunks – set a timer if you like. When the timer goes off, stand up, walk around and get some fresh air.
- Take a proper lunch break, and always make time for exercise.
- Consider your optimal working rhythm. When do you do your best work? Schedule your most difficult work for then.
- Set small, achievable goals each day and have a to-do list you can tick off – after all, is there anything more satisfying that ticking off an item on your to do list?
- If you can, try not to do ‘home’ activities during your work hours. This can be an easy distraction to fall into while working from home.
- Get ready for work the same way you would when going into the office – you can even try walking out and back in your front door to symbolise the start of your day!
So, as well as ensuring you have beautiful, functional stationery and inspiring items to keep you motivated throughout your day, there are definitely some pretty important things to remember in terms of setting up your workspace. Of course, while there is no magic rule for what works for each person when working and studying from home, we encourage you to give these tips a try and see if they work for you.
Mostly though, it’s important to be kind to yourself. Working from home is certainly a challenge for many and we need to remember that we’re all often just doing the best we can in a very strange year. So be kind to yourself, and others, as we all adjust to this ‘new normal.’
For a more detailed working-from-home checklist and recommended guidelines for employees working from home, be sure to visit the Australian Government ComCare Guidance and Resources site.
And if you’re looking for more information on setting up a beautiful and practical desk, be sure to check out some tips on one of our previous articles below:
As always, we have a range of gorgeous home office essentials to help you along your work- or -study-from home journey. Shop online or in store today.