Guest post by Steph King
The pandemic saw more people than ever working from home, and despite plans for offices to start opening up, it seems a lot of employees have got a taste for this new way of working. Whether you’re looking at heading back to the office on a more temporary basis or you’re working from home for life, there are some simple things you can do to help you look after yourself at home.
Maintain regular hours
Set a schedule and stick to it. Working designated hours, and then stopping when those hours are up, will give your brain time to work and time to rest. Yes, working from home affords additional flexibility, but that doesn’t mean you should work all hours.
Without steady schedules, the lines between work and personal time can get blurred and be stressful to get right. Follow your normal sleep and work patterns if you can, stay consistent.
Check-in with your team
Working from home may have many benefits but you may also feel more isolated, so it’s important to stay in touch. In and out of work, human interaction matters so schedule video calls and pick up the phone instead of emailing. If you’re struggling with working at home, speak to your colleagues or manager about your concerns.
And remember, your colleagues probably feel the same as you. Ask how they’re doing and whether there are ways you can support each other. You can even schedule in regular check-ins with members of the team too.
Make a dedicated workspace
If you can, find a quiet space away from people and distractions like the TV (or the kitchen, when you feel snacky). In a recent study, National Accident Helpline found that a third of home workers (36%) are working from their living room, with only one in five having a separate home office room to use.
It’s important that you set up a dedicated workspace not matter how small, and that you get everything you need in one place, before you start work – chargers, pens, paper and anything else – and shut the door if you can. Even in a small or shared space, try to designate an area for work.
Have the correct set-up
If you do not have office furniture like an adjustable chair, try using things like cushions to support you in your chair, or a box as a footrest.
The research indicates that the home working explosion and lack of understanding in how to safely set up a suitable homeworking station could be leading to an increase in specific ‘WFH injuries’. The most common WFH injury is back pain, with 1 in 4 home workers (27%) suffering. Other common ailments for home workers are eye strain (18%), neck pain (17%), and a repetitive strain injury (10%) caused by using items like a laptop or a mouse without following health and safety set up guidance.
What’s concerning is that these ‘WFH injuries’ can have a serious impact for the rest of our lives, so ensuring you have the correct set-up is crucial for your future health.