Covid-19 working from home tips on laptop
March 03, 2020

With many businesses closing due to the COVID-19 outbreak, many employees are working remotely. Although working from home has its pros, there are a few things you should keep in mind, such as making sure you keep a good posture to prevent repetitive strain injuries and tech neck – physical stress placed on the neck after looking down for periods of time.

 Tech Neck from Slouching Over Laptop

Example of “Tech Neck” due to slouching over the computer — What we want to avoid!

Working from home offers lots of great perks like freedom and flexibility, but also comes with an added measure of responsibility and accountability. When done well, working from home allows individuals to shine – increasing their performance and achieving a better work-life balance.

The truth is, as great as working from home is, it comes with challenges when it’s not managed well. Working from home requires decision-making skills, after all, you must determine when you will work, where to work in your home, and what types of equipment you’ll need to get the job done. And that’s just for starters!

To ensure your new work at home adventure is productive, profitable, and healthful, let’s take some time to explore these tips featuring work at home best practices.

woman sitting at home office space

1. You need a Dedicated Office Space.

Now, this space doesn’t have to a “real” office, but it certainly needs to be a space dedicated to you and your work. If you have a spare room, make it your office. If you don’t have a spare room, get your space set with a desk, a computer, and the needed accessories. A dedicated space also ensures privacy for you, those you work with, and your clients or customers. Now, an office space doesn’t mean you have to sit or stand at a desk all-day long. Moving about is better for your health so consider standing or walking while on calls, “perching” which keeps your muscles activated and your spine elongated while at your desk, kneeling/squatting when listening to messages, sitting cross-legged on the floor while reading, lying on your back while listening to audio, or even chaise-lounging when reading or writing.

working from home tips

2. Equip Your Office Effectively.

Getting your home office ready to function well means investing in quality technology. In most cases, you will want a laptop, tablet, and phone, and probably a desktop and printer. Get battery back-ups for mobile devices so you can move around and work with ease. Don’t neglect office furnishings either. Consider investing in functional, comfortable office furniture – an ergonomic chair and a large desk, and possibly bookshelves and filing cabinets. If you have back issues, consider a standing desk and a high stool for greater comfort. Also, if you can, invest in separate keyboard which can be placed at elbow height so your screen can be placed in front of your eyes. Your back and neck will thank you. Remember, each purchase is an investment in your work from home, so spend on the items you need to work efficiently and comfortably.

3. Set Regular Hours.

Some positions require you to be available during certain hours, while others offer greater flexibility, allowing you to work at times convenient for you (like working during the hours your kids are in school). Either way, you’ll want to maintain a schedule and stick with it. Doing so is key in balancing work and life, since they are both happening in the same space. If you have to make adjustments for those in other time zones – like starting earlier or extending your day, be sure to take the time off to make up the difference (more on this coming). Keep in mind that setting regular hours also means stopping at a specified time each day, and distancing from work, as well as communicating your hours to your co-workers, boss, or team.

4. Develop a Start the Workday Routine.

Not everyone’s workday starts in the morning, thus the need for a start the workday routine and not a start the morning one. Studies have shown the brain responds to routine in a positive way which begins with waking at the same time each day. Get dressed. Do some yoga. Have breakfast. Make a cup of coffee. Pour yourself a soda. Mix up a smoothie. Yes, really, a routine made up of whatever you do to get started each day will help you to be successful working from home!

5. Take Scheduled Breaks.

Now, at first, this might seem counterintuitive, but breaks can actually increase your focus as well as your productivity. If you work for a company, appropriate your company’s break policy. If you are self-employed, taking breaks every 90 minutes is the most common and very effective. Since you are working from home, your breaks can include exercise, stretching, meditation, or a healthy snack. The goal is stepping away from the screen, getting up and moving your body, while relaxing your mind, which can help you regain focus and enhance your productivity and creativity when you return to work. In other words, for the greatest effectiveness, take the needed breaks and move your body.

6. Explain the WFH Rules to Family and Friends.

If you won’t be home alone during your work hours, you’ll need to make the Work from Home (WFH) rules clear to family members and friends. If your children arrive home while you are still working, tell them what you expect from them during the remainder of your work time. If your friends think you can stop at moment’s notice to run an errand or meet a service person, explain that you can’t. Even though you are home, you are working! Setting clear boundaries at the beginning will help you perform better.

Work from home is unique and filled with perks as well as challenges. These tips will help you get started on the path to work from home success, but remember you’ll need to find what works best for you and do it. And, if working from home has become a pain – as in your back, neck, or elsewhere – call on the team at County Line Chiropractic Medical and Rehab to provide non-invasive therapies which promote pain relief and wellness.

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