Two years since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and a lot has changed. Masks, hand sanitizing, and social distancing have become the norm, and most of us have forgotten what the inside of a plane looks like. One of these notable changes was to our jobs. In early 2020, the longstanding idea of the conventional 40-hour work week was completely flipped when offices got shut down and people had to string together whatever they had at their disposal in their living rooms to create a makeshift office. Fast forward 2 years, and virtual platforms, non-conventional work hours, and the hybrid model of working from both your office and your home has redefined the century old model of working 9-5 Monday-Friday.
As more and more people are adopting the ‘working from home’ model, it is important to understand the Pros and Cons involved; While working from home gets rid of the commute thus saving you time and monetary costs, not being in the office can reduce the sense of daily accountability which is then amplified by family distractions resulting in the longer “work-days”.
Establish a work zone
Now that we are working from home, creating a separation between home and work becomes very important: Having a designated area for work in your home is critical. Doing so doesn’t just create a mental separation between your professional and personal selves, it also informs others in your house that this is where you work and the rules apply differently here, which would help lead to less distractions, improved focus, and greater productivity.
Set up your space
Working from home also places greater emphasis on the importance of Ergonomics, primarily due to the lack of adequate equipment; While you may not have a wrist rest in your home, you can use a twice folded over hand towel to achieve the same effect, thereby helping to reduce the risk of associated hand, wrist, and shoulder issues. Following ergonomic principles while setting up your home office, and understanding the risk factors associated with workplace injuries and avoiding them is key to help maximize productivity while minimizing risk of injury.
Create a routine
Successfully working from home long term involves more than just a good home office setup. Creating a routine is a great way to stay on track and reduce external distraction during your work hours. The same applies to establishing a designated workzone. Remember to take care of your body by taking appropriate microbreaks to stretch, as well as with healthy meals and snacks. Don’t forget to attend to your mind by staying in contact with colleagues, or simply going out for a walk on your break and taking in some fresh air.
For better or for worse, the COVID-19 pandemic has permanently changed the way we live our lives. 2 years in, many understand and embrace these changes. When it comes to working from home, being disciplined about our work day and following ergonomic principles while making sure we are taking care of ourselves will help increase productivity at work while helping to ensure that we retain our physical and mental wellbeing and reduce the likelihood of injury.