With remote/hybrid work becoming the norm for many workplaces, we've all learned a lot about working remotely since the pandemic started. So, we put together some first-hand tips from our team at LifeDirect, on how to make working remotely work for you.
We might have enjoyed staying cosy in our pyjamas and slippers during the first lockdown, but let's admit it – it wasn't meant to last.
The more we work from home, the more it becomes business as usual. And so just like you would on a typical workday, it's a good idea to wake up at a regular time every morning, shower and dress for work. This way you'll signal to your brain that it's time to focus.
So, what's a good home office attire? Usually working from home doesn't have a set uniform, so depending on your job, casual or business-casual might do. But if you 'zoom' often, consider adding some video-friendly clothes to your wardrobe, without busy or complicated patterns.
Comfort is king
...and we don't mean using the bed as a workspace (that's actually bad for our spine and your sleep schedule!). What we mean is that your workstation needs to be as comfortable and pain-free as possible.
As tempting as your couch and coffee table can be, it's still worth investing in a quality home office set-up. If your chair isn't already supportive on your back, you may want to use a small pillow to prevent or reduce lower-back pain. And if you can, adjust your chair so that your knees are about level with your hips, or add a footstool to raise your knees up.
As for your laptop set-up, watch this video for some basic ergonomics tips. We also found it helps to raise the laptop so the screen is at eye level, and some of us use full-sized keyboards and screens where possible.
As office workers ourselves, we know all too well how easy it is to sit all day long. So, some of us made it a habit by setting reminders and alerts. Every hour or so, we stand up, grab a glass of water or a hot drink, and maybe do some stretches.
What 'incidental exercise' opportunities do you have? For example, you may check your mailbox, or take a quick walk around the house if you have the space. And if you receive a phone call, you could walk while you talk.
Again, easier said than done, right? But good working habits are equally as important as your workstation set-up, and this is one of them. Taking breaks may be even more challenging at home, where there are no visual cues from co-workers.
So, it's all-the-more important that you allow yourself to stop working every now and then – be that for your own regular lunch break or a few smaller breaks throughout the day. Those of us who have incorporated breaks into our workday feel that our mood and productivity have improved significantly.
Another common mistake that people make when working from home is changing their working hours from one day to the next. Ring a bell?
The thing is, just because your commute is only a few steps instead of a few kms doesn't mean you can't decide on set hours of work. In fact, establishing a routine can help you train your 'at home' brain to know when it's time to work, and when to relax.
On this note, it's interesting how different people experience remote work differently. For example, some of the LifeDirect team say they feel more productive and focused. Others prefer the office because they get too easily distracted at home (there's always some small job to do around the house...). Plus, they miss the casual banter over coffee, or the clarity of projecting ideas across a room rather than through a screen.
In a nutshell, there are pros and cons to both options – the key thing is to find what works for you. And again, if you have the space, having a designated workspace can help prevent potential household distractions, so you can focus when you need to.
Switch off at the end of the day
Working remotely can be great for your work/life balance, but it can also blur the line between your personal and professional life. So make a point of stopping when the appointed work hours come to an end. Shut down your computer and leave it off until the next morning.
The more consistent you are, the more your brain will realise when it's time to work and when it's not.
Here to protect your personal and financial health
We hope you've found these tips quite helpful: at LifeDirect, we care about protecting your personal and financial well-being. If you're looking for cover, our quote compare tool is a good place to start, but we're also real people and we're just a phone call away. Call us on 0800 800 400, start a Live Chat or fill in our contact form to get in touch with our team.
Disclaimer: Please note that the content provided in this article is intended as an overview and as general information only. While care is taken to ensure accuracy and reliability, the information provided is subject to continuous change and may not reflect current developments or address your situation. Before making any decisions based on the information provided in this article, please use your discretion and seek independent guidance.