Because of stay-at-home advisories, many Americans are working from home not only for the first time but for much longer than expected.
This change could take more time to adjust to than you might think. Working from home comes with its own unique set of challenges, especially if you have children at home with you. Here are some ways to make working from home easier and more productive.
1. Establish a separate workspace
Having a spot dedicated to work can help significantly with concentration and productivity. Even if it’s at the dining room table, establishing a separate space can help you avoid distractions and get into a more work-oriented state of mind.
Although tempting, avoid working on soft furniture like the couch as, over time, it will encourage poor posture and can lead to aches and pains in general.
2. Make your workspace more ergonomic
In addition to having a separate workspace make sure that it is ergonomically set up in an appropriate manner. Try to keep your screen or reading material at a level where you can keep your head and neck in a more neutral position. That means your ears should be positioned directly above your shoulders.
Keep your most used items like notepads and pens within reach as well. That way, you don’t have to twist and turn for them and put additional strain on your body.
3. Practice good posture
Doing anything over and over again, particularly sitting, will lead to compensatory patterns and degenerative changes over time. You’re increasing wear and tear in a body area if you’re not doing it the right way.
Therefore, it’s important to be mindful of having good posture. Remember to keep both feet on the floor and make sure that you are not slouching. Good posture is more beneficial to your overall health than you may think. Research shows that correct posture and positive body language can influence hormones linked to disease resistance and affect our decisions and even leadership abilities. For more posture tips, visit another NUHS blog here.
4. Schedule your day
Similar to working in a structured office environment, be sure to schedule your days with a lunch break and other breaks throughout the day. Routines can often help the stress that comes with work.
Setting aside time for an occasional change of scenery by getting out and walking can also be helpful in keeping the mind stimulated and more productive. Sitting around day after day can lead to a depressive state, so. after your work day is complete, make sure to schedule various games and activities for yourself and your family as well.
5. Don’t forget to exercise
Exercise is a great after work activity that can help reduce the additional stress caused by working from home and can even improve your productivity.. With most gyms closed, it can be more challenging to keep fit, especially if you don’t have machines available. But when you’re stuck at home, exercise can be especially important, particularly for improving your mental health. In fact, studies show that exercise can elevate mood, enhance creativity and improve concentration. = Luckily, there are plenty of activities that you can do without a lot of space or equipment.
Yoga for example, can be done in front of the television. It calms the system and helps with muscular lengthening (stretching). You can find plenty of online instruction videos on YouTube or through apps that are inexpensive or even free.
Pilates also can be done in a small space following video instruction. But if these two types of exercise aren’t appealing just making up a routine of push-ups, jumping jacks, squats, etc. can be done without weights too. Additionally, just getting yourself out and walking is another helpful option. Communicating with your neighbors, albeit at a distance, may help you feel less isolated.
In the coming days and weeks, you might discover that working from home is more challenging than expected, especially when you’re practicing social distancing. However, if you focus on factors you can control, you are more likely to stay healthy and remain productive.
About the Author
Dr. Anna Jurik