By: Max Crampton- Thomas
4 min read March 2020 — The COVID-19 health pandemic has upended daily life in unprecedented ways amid calls from the government for people to social distance and stay home as much as possible. Many businesses have had to close their doors and ask their employees to work from home. While some individuals may be accustomed to working from a home office setting, for a large majority of the working world this is uncharted waters that could benefit from some guidance. Invest: offers some need-to-know tips for working from home during this time of crisis.
Working in an office setting, you often take for granted the ease of communication between you and your colleagues. Situations that could have been resolved by simply walking to someone’s desk now require more effort via other methods of communication. The key is to establish a consistent flow of communication that starts with a daily understanding of what your employees’ schedules will look like on any given day. This can be easily accomplished by having them send out their daily schedules and workload in a quick email at the start of every business day. Communication can then be maintained based around this schedule and productivity can be more easily managed as well. For more direct communication in regard to smaller issues that may not require a phone call, office communication applications like Slack can help facilitate these quick discussions.
Maintain a Daily Routine
For almost any working person, maintaining a daily routine becomes second nature. When unforeseen circumstances like COVID-19 interrupt this daily routine, it can throw a person off course quite rapidly, which can result in less productivity and a decrease in focus. The key is to adapt and maintain your daily routine to the changing environment as much as possible. Something as simple as getting dressed in business clothing can seem unnecessary when working from home, especially when staying in pajamas all day may sound a lot more appealing, but maintaining this daily activity can be key in starting your work day off on the right foot and retaining as much normalcy as possible. Make the effort to try and stick to your normal work schedule throughout the day, including taking breaks as you would in the office, eating lunch around the same time you normally would and trying to stick to your typical working hours as best as possible.
Maintaining Posture (Physical & Mental)
There are many arguments in favor of the benefits of working from home but maintaining your posture, both physical and mental, is probably not high on that list. From a physical standpoint, in an office setting you are usually sitting in a proper desk chair with a relatively straight back or even standing straight up thanks to standing desks. The same cannot normally be said for a home office setting. In an interview with CBS, New York chiropractor Dr. Joseph D. Salamone said, “Everybody’s going to be in sitting postures, having text neck.These people really need to make precautions and live a healthier lifestyle while we’re in this quarantine state.” He recommended that those who find themselves working from home should practice regular stretching to help maintain posture. For those who have the means and access to the proper resources it would also be advisable to create a proper workstation, not unlike the one you are accustomed to in your own office, as opposed to trying to work from a slouched posture on a bed or couch.
Maintaining posture also relates to mental health as much as physical well-being. Going from working in a sociable setting like an office with other people to unexpectedly working by yourself at home can be quite jarring for the mind. It is vitally important to maintain the social connections that you have grown accustomed to in a normal workday, like lunch with coworkers. This social time does not have to be lost as technology has made it so you can use your lunchtime from home to speak with or even video call with coworkers and friends. There is also the underlying issue of potential for increased anxiety during this time of isolation, especially with the influx of nonstop news about COVID-19. It’s crucial that individuals limit the daily amount of time they spend consuming this news, and instead focus their attention on other matters like work, family and the home.
Creating A Proper Workspace
A proper home workspace may help in maintaining posture but it is also important in helping to facilitate as normal a daily routine as possible. In theory, this workspace is where an individual will spend the majority of their eight-hour working day, so it is crucial that this space is not only comfortable but also practical for achieving daily tasks. Find somewhere in the house that you can maintain your workstation without much interruption, and if possible, somewhere that has access to natural light. Working from home can also be tricky as the lines become blurred between workspace and home space, resulting in it becoming harder to “switch off” after a full working day. It is important to try and establish this workspace in a section of the home that allows you to “step into” work at the beginning of the day and “step out” of work at the end.
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