Working from home has become the norm for many South Africans over the past year, with COVID-19 lockdown forcing several office workers to convert their lounges, bedrooms and studies into full-time offices. And while working from home has its perks – wearing your PJs all day, having your pets keep you company and sometimes even working from bed – there are also some pitfalls. Here are a few tips to ensure you stay healthy and productive while working remotely.
1. Get up and get dressed
While this may seem like the obvious thing to do, it’s very tempting to just lounge around in your pyjamas (especially during the chilly winter months). But the act of getting dressed helps your body and mind to switch over to work mode and serves as a crucial act of self-care. Even if you just put on a comfy pair of sweatpants, getting dressed is a good start to your workday.
2. Stick to a daily routine
Approach each morning like you would any normal day at the office – get dressed, have breakfast, take your supplements, do your hair, brush your teeth and clock in at the same time.
3. Set up a permanent workspace
No matter how small, dedicating a space in your home to work can help separate work from leisure. Whether it’s the dining room table, a kitchen counter, a comfy chair or your study. If you can, avoid working from your couch or bedroom since, psychologically, these spaces in your home should serve as areas where you relax after a long day’s work.
4. Invest in a good chair
Posture is everything, whether you’re working from home or the office. But not all of us have a proper office chair at home. However, if you can afford it, it’s best to buy a chair that provides proper back support. Alternatively, buying a back support cushion for your current chair is also a great investment.
5. Set work hours for yourself
Now that your home and office spaces have merged, it’s crucial to stick to healthy work hours every day. Try and keep to hours similar to when you were still working at the office.
6. Make to-do lists if you’re prone to procrastination
At home, there are many distractions and temptations. From playing with your pets to watching a series or just lounging in the sun – if you tend to get side-tracked, making a list of your daily tasks can help you stay on schedule.
7. Get up and move regularly
With everything happening from the confines of your computer screen, it’s important to stretch and move around every hour or so. Just taking a quick walk through the house will get your blood circulation going and give you that tiny jolt of energy needed to get through the day.
8. Enjoy the outdoors
If you have access to a garden or any green space, make use of it as often as possible. Since you’re no longer leaving home daily to get to the office, going outside and getting some natural sunlight is more important than ever. Just 30 minutes a day is all you need, and the fresh air will do you wonders.
9. Eat healthy meals and snacks
It’s tempting to reach into the pantry for all the unhealthy snacks to appease any comfort cravings. But now that you’re confined to your home, it’s vital to eat healthy foods whenever possible.
10. Avoid social media
It serves as a distraction and can easily steal hours out of your day if you don’t pay close attention. Rather set aside sections of the day when social media is allowed – this could include mornings before work, during your lunch break, and at the end of the day.
11. Chat to co-workers to avoid isolation
While it’s easy to just send an instant message or email, having a video call every once in a while helps you stay connected in a more enriching way.
12. Set boundaries
Ensure colleagues and work contacts know when you are available to work and when you are offline. Also don’t allow work to leak into your downtime and avoid checking work emails and messages when you’ve signed off for the day.
Sources: Society for Human Resource Management | WorldatWork.org