Your Guide to Working Well from Home
Are you among the millions of Canadians who are working from home to help flatten the COVID-19 curve?
Are you settling into a routine or still struggling to adjust? If you have never worked remotely before the pandemic (which includes 40% of Medavie Blue Cross employees) you’ve likely experienced some common concerns, frustrations and challenges in transitioning from a traditional work structure to home.
Calls interrupted by household quarrels? Technical snafus?
To help you make this adjustment, we offer this practical guide to working well from home that includes helpful advice on staying safe, healthy and productive while teleworking.
Tips to Stay Protected and Connected
1. Find a quiet space
One of the keys to making telework productive is to separate your personal and professional lives and balance your efforts between both.
You can't always control your environment and there will be noises and distractions you hadn't planned for. Limit them as much as possible by:
• Having dedicated office space in a closed room or an isolated place in the house
• Planning a schedule with your family that lets them know when you’re working and when you’re available and post to your door.
• Reserving quiet times, suitable for videoconference calls or tasks requiring concentration.
2. Stick to a schedule
Try to keep your work day routine to the schedule it’s used to — wake up at your regular time and keep to your morning rituals, starting work when you’d normally head out the door. Create a to-do list each morning to keep you on track.
3. Take a break
It's easy to have a snack at your desk and keep plugging away at your work. However, not taking regular breaks can actually lower your productivity. Take time away from your office to recharge your batteries. Stand up and walk away from your desk at least once every hour. Water your plants. Take your dog out for a stroll and fresh air. Have a picnic lunch with the kids. Get a start on dinner preparation. This will help clear your mind, increase your creativity and prevent burn out.
4. Dress for success
There are times when working in your PJs feels like a definite plus to working from home. However, studies show that you can be more productive if you get up, get dressed and go into your home office ready for your day. You don’t have to go all-out, but wear something that would be acceptable at your work office. In other words, don’t show up on the webcam for your next teleconference in your bathrobe or sweatpants. Remember: Feeling good about yourself has an impact on how you perform.
5. Set realistic expectations
Working from home is not the same as working in a traditional office setting, so don’t be too hard on yourself. Remember most of your co-workers are going through the same thing.
• Don’t paint an unrealistic picture of what you can achieve
• Engage in open communication with your leader and team about work norms and expectations
Tips to be more ergonomic
Ergonomics is also essential to working well from home. Make sure to follow these tips to increase your comfort and efficiency.
• Apply the 20-20-20 rule to reduce eye strain and muscle fatigue. Every 20 minutes, look away at a distance of 20 feet (6 metres) for 20 seconds.
• If you don’t have a work desk and an adjustable chair, choose a flat and solid surface that allows you to place your computer directly in front of you with your documents nearby. The kitchen table is usually the best option.
• Place a cushion or pillow on the seat to help you elevate yourself in order to reach the desired height: elbows at table-height.
• Avoid working on a high surface such as a counter with a stool, as these provide less back support and limited support for the feet.
• Work short periods on the kitchen counter in a standing position. Hold short meetings standing up.
• Vary your position and change your chair adjustments regularly.
• Progressive lenses? Lower the screen to view it without moving your head
• Increase the speed of your mouse to reduce elbow and shoulder movements.
Dan Pontefract at www.pontefractgroup.com
Entrac, a leader in ergonomics at work