Working from Home – Happy, Healthy and Productive!
The home-working revolution is here to stay. It’s a change that has been brewing for quite some time, as technology solutions developed rapidly to free us of the things which used to keep us tied in one location for work.
Things like cloud-computing, powerful laptops, and high-speed Wi-Fi connections have all played their part in truly making it possible to do a lot of jobs from anywhere in the world.
But up until recently, it was still only a relatively small amount of entrepreneurs, digital nomads and extremely progressive companies who were truly embracing it.
— Ryan Biddulph (@RyanBiddulph) August 13, 2020
Then came the global coronavirus pandemic. It began driving workers out of offices and accelerating companies to adopt the tech and culture required to create a legion of home-based workers.
The technology may have existed for a while, but it’s taken a pandemic to make a lot of companies truly adopt it.
And so far, the results are encouraging. Studies show that home-based workers are more productive, happier in their jobs, and more likely to be loyal to companies that offer greater flexibility. Plus, the financials add up.
For the small extra cost in upgrading software, companies save huge overheads in leasing space, and can instead choose to use co-working spaces and other more adaptable homes for their business.
This is especially good news for start-up businesses, who have always had to try and embrace these practices that are now going mainstream.But up until recently, it was still only a relatively small amount of entrepreneurs, digital nomads like @RyanBiddulph and extremely progressive companies who were truly embracing it. Click To Tweet
The Art of The Home Worker
It’s a seismic change in the way we work. Rather than wasting time and mental energy on a stressful commute, people are finding that the mythical work-life balance can be drastically improved when they work from home.
And the wave of small businesses starting up from a kitchen table and reaching audiences through the power of the web and social media marketing is another reminder of how different the world of work looks in just a few decades.
However, there is definitely an art to working well from home. There can be downsides if the process isn’t carefully managed. Issues such as a lack of boundaries, overworking or procrastination, a lack of motivation, and becoming easily distracted.
These issues must be acknowledged and worked at in order for us – and our businesses – to get the most out of the opportunity that home-based working offers.
Health And The Home Worker
Maintaining health – physical and mental – needs to be at the forefront of our minds when we consider how to get the best out of home working.
Good health means more focus and productivity, more ability to be creative and better results for the company.
With up to 43 percent of the total workforce in the US predicted to be working remotely by next year, it’s something that we cannot afford to overlook – as individuals, as businesses, or as a society.
So what can we do to ensure that our health is well served as we settle into working from home?
Designate Your Space Working from Home
Physical space plays a huge part in overall wellbeing. The trouble for a lot of home workers is that this situation has evolved, without a conscious thought process as to the optimal set-up.
Office buildings know the importance of spatial design and ergonomics to keep employees functioning well – so how can this be applied at home?
The first thing to aim for is to have a dedicated workspace, separate from the rest of your living environment. For some, this will be more challenging than others.
You may have to think outside the box. If space allows, and you intend to be running your business from home, it may be worth investing in a garden studio, or building work to convert a garage or loft, or perhaps extending your home to create a dedicated office space.
Separation From Others
If that isn’t possible you should still aim for some separation. Now, if you have children, elderly parents, or pets you may really need this separation.
This morning as I was getting ready for a zoom call my granddaughter was running around the house and the dog was barking. I could not imagine working like that every day but with the right set-up, it could make a huge difference!
— Melissa Ford (@MelissaFordPhD) August 18, 2020
Next, if you have a guest bedroom that lies empty most of the time, it could be worth changing up space by getting rid of the traditional bed in favor of a sofa bed and a desk setup, so that you can use the room more effectively as an office space.
Being able to close the door and walk away at the end of the day is important. If you’re extremely limited, even consider a fold-out desk where you can set up your workstation during the day and pack it away in the evenings.
Avoid working from your couch or bed at all costs. This leads to low energy, burnout, and interfere with the mental boundaries that help us to relax after work.Being able to close the door and walk away at the end of the day is important. #workingfromhome Click To Tweet
Dedicate One Hour A Day To Movement
We usually have around sixteen waking hours a day. So it makes sense that we should dedicate at least one of those hours to movement. This can take many forms – but the key is not to just be sedentary at our desks all day.
That route leads to a huge amount of health issues, from musculoskeletal problems to low mood, obesity, blood pressure, and a higher risk of heart disease. Break your day up with movement.
Try a morning run before you sit down, or a lunchtime walk outside, followed by an evening session of yoga workouts on YouTube.
Use your work calendar or a timer app to remind you to get up and move around regularly. It gets the blood flowing and also wakes up our creative minds. Pay attention to what you eat and any other concerns, such as ordering glasses using this link if you need them for work.Use your work calendar or a timer app to remind you to get up and move around regularly. #workingfromhome Click To Tweet
Address How You Sit
Laptop risers, additional screens and simply setting up your keyboard and mouse in the right way can make a big difference to the likelihood of developing repetitive strain injuries and other complications.
Or you might want to consider a standing desk or working seated on a balance ball for some of the days – all options which engage our bodies. Using a “yoga” balance ball has helped my lower back over the past few months.
Try taking walking meetings to – switch on FaceTime and do a few laps outside while you run through the latest updates.
These small changes can make a huge difference in your health and happiness when working from home.Try taking walking meetings to - switch on FaceTime and do a few laps outside while you run through the latest updates. #workingfromhome Click To Tweet
Scheduling Is Key When Working from Home Too
When you’re based at home, your time is more your own to arrange. And while that brings many fantastic benefits, there can also be downsides to it.
It’s easy to slip into bad habits such as starting and finishing work later in the day. Or, worse not having boundaries so that you always feel on duty. Oh yes, something I’ve done the whole first year here at Inspire To Thrive. Not good! The key to all of these things is to prioritize and then schedule.
Your calendar and reminders are powerful tools that can help you to run your life more effectively when working from home. Be proactive about blocking time for actions and tasks out in your diary as well as just using it for meetings.
Set a working schedule, block out time for workouts, set reminders to get up and move or stay hydrated.
Go for active meetings with your team and clients. Then, make sure you schedule buffer time before big meetings to prepare and afterward to process any actions. Set limits to your time.
Then, decide in advance what time you’re going to stop working and stick to it. Avoid distractions by keeping your phone in a drawer during ‘work time’.
You have to put boundaries in place when there aren’t the natural ones provided by commuting into an office.Your calendar and reminders are powerful tools that can help you to run your life more effectively when working from home. #workingfromhome Click To Tweet
How are you doing today as this home working revolution has been going for almost 6 months now? Do you think it will be permanent?
I’d love to know in the comments below!