With offices and social spaces closed worldwide due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 41.8% of the American workforce have been working from home full-time and part-time, with 36.2 million Americans expected to have adopted remote work permanently by 2025.
Below are five ideas that can help you create a healthy, stress-free and productive environment.
Organizing your office/desk space layout
The first step is ensuring you have a room or space in your house dedicated to work so that you can ‘close the door’ at the end of your working day. Working on the sofa may sound wonderful on paper, but your mental health will improve if you keep work and home life separate. A clear working space can help productivity too, as you can have everything you need within easy reach.
With most meetings now virtual, you may need to purchase a headset and webcam, or perhaps even a good microphone. Find a good space to position your webcam and have your headset nearby so you can pop onto any last-minute meetings with less stress.
A good internet connection is key for remote working. Though Wi-Fi works well for basic internet use, an Ethernet cable linked to your router will give you a more reliable connection. If you can’t position your desk by your main router, you can buy a TP Link Router which you can connect your Ethernet cable to.
Lighting is key for creating an efficient working space. Make sure any lights aren’t in direct view, and ensure your light is at a comfortable, bright level to avoid eyestrain and headaches.
Health and wellbeing
Looking after your physical and mental wellbeing is an important part of remote working. Swapping the busy office for working at home can be isolating, and it means that it’s up to you to ensure you look after yourself.
Begin by making sure you’re comfortable while working for long hours at a time. Ergonomic chairs are great, as they promote good posture and help support your lower back. Equally, an ergonomic keyboard and mouse help to alleviate any stress on your tendons and avoid repetitive strain disorder. Make sure your arm is able to rest in a natural position rather than at an uncomfortable angle.
The height of your desk promotes good posture and comfort. Check your desk is the correct height by ensuring you can sit up straight, your feet are on the floor with your knees in line with your hips and that your forearms are resting on the desk.
Remote working can be sedentary, so make sure you move and stretch your body regularly. Allow time in your schedule to go for a stroll at lunchtime, or you could get a yoga mat for a quick stretch to revitalize your muscles – the main thing is that you keep your body active.
Claiming back working from home costs
It’s beneficial to have the best equipment to keep you comfortable and stress-free while working. However, this can come with extra costs. Add additional electric, heating and phone bills and suddenly you’re not saving as much as you thought.
Speak to your company to discuss claiming back any additional costs you incur while working remotely, or see if they can help with purchasing office equipment. In the UK, it’s also possible to apply for tax relief for your additional household costs, though you can’t claim for this if you have chosen to work remotely of your own accord.
Download the proper online tools
There are many brilliant online tools to help make working remotely easier. Communicate with your colleagues over video call on Zoom or Microsoft Teams or keep conversations flowing with Slack, a messaging platform where you can organize multiple conversations, send files and connect with external companies.
Another great organization tool is Trello, where you can create shareable schedules, send links and hand out tasks to your colleagues.
Create a happy work environment
Your home office doesn’t have to be dreary. There are easy and cost-effective ways to bring joy, including natural light from a window. Add a few plants to your working area – they help to manage stress and remove toxins from the air – fill a frame with photos or motivational images and keep your desk as clutter-free as possible.
As offices remain closed for the near future, many companies and employees have found themselves working from home for the first time. There are many simple ways to make sure you feel comfortable and ready to take on working remotely and keep yourself healthy and happy at the same time.