We took a look at some of the bad habits that may have crept in for those working from home, and suggest five tips to help improve health, wellbeing and happiness in the home workspace.
For many of us, 2020 was a year of significant change, not least the way we worked. Those of us lucky enough to have been able to carry on our roles while working from home may now have been doing so for over 10 months, and what started as a novelty has become routine, blurring the lines between your work life and home life, and letting bad habits set in.
Here are our Home Office Tips, to help you improve your health and wellbeing, increase productivity, and reclaim a better work-life balance.
Keep it tidy
If you are anything like us, your home office desk serves as a multi-functional space with clutter from the previous year. Without regular cleaning, it is all too easy to let your home workstation slide.
Give your workstation a deep clean, sorting the trash from the treasured, and make a concerted effort to keep it that way. Set yourself the goal of either a daily or weekly cleaning of your desk, including wiping down all the surfaces and sorting out your work equipment. A clean desk is energizing and inspiring and will help you stay focused and ultimately be more productive at your tasks.
One of the biggest problems with working from home is inactivity. When facing a heavy workload, our natural reaction is to sit at our desk until it’s done, leading to hours and hours of inactivity. Without the commute to work and with all meetings and calls taken at your desk, the amount of movement and activity in our lives can take a drastic decline.
2021 is the year to put that activity back into your daily routine. Once an hour you should get up and move for a couple of minutes. The classic example is to get up and do a set of stretches to reset your body. For some people it’s hard to keep to such routines, so another way of keeping moving is to write out a list of short chores you need to do, and every hour do one of those.
Watering your desk plant, putting a load in the washing machine, taking the trash out, emptying the dishwasher, playing with your dog – these are all tasks that take a couple of minutes, but require you to take a step back from your work and get your body moving. What’s more, they are useful tasks that help you keep on top of your domestic life.
Fewer video calls – More audio calls
With much of the world going through various stages of lockdown over the past year, video calls have become the de-facto meeting format for many, and not just for work, but for socializing too. There is no doubt that they have been incredibly useful for replacing face to face meetings, but their increasing usage has led to what has been dubbed “zoom fatigue”.
This idea stems from how we process information over video. The only way we can show we’re paying attention to video is to look into the camera, but in real life, we rarely stand 3 feet away from a colleague and stare into their face. Having to engage in a constant gaze makes us uncomfortable and tired, leading to fatigue.
For 2021, we recommend reducing the Zoom meetings, keeping them to the conversations when they are necessary, and try and engage in more traditional phone calls, or keep your camera switched off when you converse via your messaging platform.
Assess your workstation
By now you should be all too familiar with the way you are working from home, and if you haven’t already, your workspace is long overdue for an assessment. Is the layout of your equipment optimized for your comfort, performance and wellbeing? Is your furniture suitable for the long hours you are spending at your desk?
If the answer is no to these, we strongly recommend assessing your options. Having your chair at the right height is very important when it comes to lasting comfort and wellbeing, as is ensuring your keyboard, monitor and various equipment you use is set up to help combat poor posture and the effects of sedentary behavior.
Other ideas you could look at are sit-stand desks, which can really have a positive impact on your overall health, and active seating such as the Sol task chair, which offers a greater range of flexibility and movement, promoting more movement while seated, without any effect on your focus and productivity. Sol’s pivot-back technology enables torsion rotation and side-to-side movement, making each sit an experience that’s catered to-and unique to-each user.
Take your lunch away from your desk
We’ve all done it. Meetings extending into your allocated lunch hour, a stack of work to get through… It’s all too easy to grab your lunch and eat at your desk as you continue with your work. This isn’t a new phenomenon either.
There are huge benefits from taking your lunch break away from your desk – not only will it help you keep moving and keep your desk tidy, but it also helps to relieve stress and give your brain a break from your work tasks, allowing you to refocus in the afternoon and be more productive.
If this was you in 2020, then try and take a step back this year and have your lunch somewhere else in your house, away from the distractions of work, and leave your phone and laptop behind so no one can disturb you.