Who would have thought that in 2020, our homes would become our offices? Our new workplace is familiar, almost, too familiar. We have to put ourselves in a different frame of mind if we are to work from home successfully for any length of time. Why? Well, when our home office is 2 feet away from our living room, or bedroom, then we will need to remind ourselves that we are working and not ‘at home’ per se. This can only be achieved if we do certain things that remind us that putting in an 8-hour day, even if we haven’t left our homes, in the same order of the day. But, working from home presents us with a new challenge. Feeling comfortable while we are working from home, having not left the house.
Select background noise
When we are at work, we are automatically in a different frame of mind. We are surrounded by our colleagues, we can hear other people typing away, making phone calls, and chatting. We can also hear traffic sounds, people walking around, birds flapping and the wind that sails through our offices. But now that we don’t have any of that, and perhaps we have silence, what can we do to fill that empty void?
Design a work playlist: Select some songs from YouTube and put them into your ‘work’ playlist. You should select songs that aren’t too distracting. Classical music is very popular, but you can also choose chill hop, synthwave and plenty of mixes that are in the new retro wave category.
Select ambient noise: There are lots of YouTube videos of ambient noise. Choose from a fireplace, train cabin, log cabin, rainy day mansion, swamp, or perhaps a forest with bird song. These videos are usually an hour or more long so you can work for many hours with some kind of natural background noise.
Don’t strain your eyes
Did you know that on average, at-home working will encourage remote workers to work an extra 48 minutes longer than their office-based counterparts? That is quite an amazing number because that will mean two things. A, remote working is more productive. B, you might feel more tired after work than you normally would have. So go here and buy yourself a new pair of glasses which you can use to prevent eye strain. The amazing frames, lenses and styles of glasses are very varied and give you plenty of choice for your head shape, eyesight and workload. Some lenses will be thicker, so you can take some of the strain out of your eyes and others will be thinner for brighter and more vibrant vision.
Get a neck pillow
When we work at home, we don’t do the normal things we would do at the office. We don’t get up and stretch our legs every hour or so. We don’t walk down a long hallway to go outside and get some fresh air. We don’t make eye contact with others and have conversations as freely. We tend to just sit at our desk and focus for long hours. That is why you should buy yourself a neck pillow so you don’t end up with a forward lean or bad posture leading to a head tilt. Because we tend not to get up and ‘reset’ our bodies, we will end up with neck pain and lumbar spine irritation too.
Speak to your colleagues!
Whatever you do, don’t forget that you are all human beings and not pixels on a screen! So many people go to work because it gives them routine and regular human contact. If you need these things, you should continually remind yourself that just because you aren’t in front of them that your colleagues are still there. So have conversations with staff that aren’t about work. Chat about sports, TV shows and fashion, the regular small talk that you like to engage in. it is so important that we remember, work is more than just sitting at a desk and working. It’s about exchanging ideas and having fun, being with other like-minded people.
Try to step away from a work problem and come back to it. But where do you go? Normally you could walk to the water cooler, look outside of the building and try to take your time when you hit a problem and couldn’t solve it right away. Now you have to walk in your garden or perhaps go for a short walk around the block.
Taking your time to adjust to this new ‘normal’ is the best thing to do. Making remote working comfortably is the key for it to become a normal part of our lives, otherwise, we will all beg to return to the office in waves.