Ideas To Work From Home – Business 9 things you can do to make working from home happier 15 April 2020 / Ingrid Fetell Lee
Some people love working from home and can’t imagine anything better than a day with their laptop dressed in pajama pants. Others miss the structure and casual conversations with colleagues that happen in their offices. Love it or hate it, you work remotely – for those who can. not all jobs lend themselves to this flexibility – it’s common for many of us due to the pandemic.
Ideas To Work From Home
For those of you starting out working from home, there’s plenty of advice on how to deal with the pitfalls and stay productive and healthy (“Take a shower!” “Don’t spend too much time on social media!”).
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But in my own experience, working from home can be a real pleasure if you let it. So I’d like to share a few about creating a workspace and routines that will make working from home a happy, sustainable experience. And who knows; You might not even want to go back to the office!
In her book Proposals for the Feminine Economy, Jenn Armbrust offers a series of principles, the first of which is: “You have a body.” It sounds simple, but working from home can make it easy to forget about your body’s basic needs. In your office, you probably had an ergonomic office chair or an adjustable workstation. However, unless you work from home regularly, your workspace may consist of a kitchen table and a basic chair.
You don’t need to invest in an entire home office, but be aware of how your body feels when you work from home. One advantage of working from home – as opposed to being in an office – is that you can often change positions. Try several positions, whether you’re sitting in a chair, standing at your kitchen table, relaxing on the couch, or sitting on a yoga block on the floor with your coffee table as a desk. It took me a long time (and some serious shoulder pain) to realize that the best position for long writing stretches for me is sitting on a bench with my back in my dining room. Trying different positions can help you find physical comfort more quickly.
Another thing to be aware of is the traffic. You probably walk a few times during a working day at the office – to the office from the train or the bus or the parking lot, between meetings, to the cafe for more coffee – and those movement breaks disappear when everything you need is within a few rooms in your home. When I first started working from home, I was surprised to find that I sometimes took less than 1,000 steps a day!
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However, the flexibility of working from home means you can move around a lot when you want. Try setting a yoga or exercise class to break up a long email session. While writing my book Joyful, I took impromptu dance breaks every time I got stuck on a section that cleared my head but would have been difficult to do in the office. I also started taking a long walk in the park at the end of each day. In the summer I would print out the latest plan and take it with me and sit in the shade while I wrote it down. In the winter I would do it on the kitchen island after I got home.
How long was your daily commute before the pandemic? For many people, this can vary from 30 minutes to 2 hours (or more), round trip each day. Also, it really adds up. Even on the short end, those 30 minutes a day add up to two and a half hours you’ve now earned per week!
The key is to be conscious of how you spend that time. Schedule it into your calendar – it doesn’t have to coincide with your commute – just like you would a meeting.
You can also block this time limit for free, unstructured time that most adults can’t get enough of. But make sure you put the tools down when the calendar notification goes off and give yourself some space to enjoy it.
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With dull color palettes, synthetic carpets and humming plumbing systems, most workplaces have an indifferent sensory landscape. Add to that the noise from open seating and the fact that many spaces are often too cold or too hot, and the typical office can be too uncomfortable to spend time in, much less work focused on.
While many of us often see the problem as overstimulation, in reality, offices are just as likely to be understimulation. Workplaces have traditionally been designed based on the belief that to maximize productivity you must minimize distraction, leading to bland, featureless spaces. But research shows that when people in these “lean” workplaces are compared to people who work in “enriched” spaces that have art, plants and more sensory stimulation, workers in the enriched spaces are 15 percent more productive. And if the employees have control over the location of things in their workplace? They are 32 percent more productive.
When you work from home, you can be like the workers in the study who controlled their own workspace – and create a sensory landscape that works for you. Part of that might mean eliminating uncomfortable sensations, getting noise-canceling headphones to tune out distracting sounds, or adjusting the temperature so it’s comfortable for you.
Also, look for ways to add pleasant sensations to your workplace. Hang a picture that gives your eye something to rest on while looking away from your screen. Play nature sounds. Choose a brightly colored mug for your morning coffee.
Working From Home
The sense of touch and smell are especially stimulated during the hours we lean on a keyboard, so look for ways to engage them. For example, I cover the bench I sit on when I write with a sheepskin, which has a decidedly informal soft texture. I keep a bottle of essential oils in my office and sometimes use a diffuser to scent the air.
A poorly designed aspect of many traditional offices is how little exposure to daylight is available in the workspaces. For most workers, the only light during the day comes from fluorescent tubes. However, research shows that workers exposed to more daylight sleep better (up to 46 minutes longer at night), have less stress and are more active during the day. Light regulates key hormones and neurotransmitters and affects everything from our alertness to our stress levels, our immune system to our mood.
At home, you have more control over where you choose to work, so if possible choose a seat near a window. And if you don’t have much natural light in your room, use lamps to increase the brightness. Just as too much blue light from our screens can keep us awake at night, a healthy dose of bright artificial light during the day can also help keep our 24-hour internal clock in sync.
Also, when you used to go to work, you probably got at least some sunlight on the way, which you miss if you now jump straight to work first. Light has the biggest effect on our circadian rhythm in the morning, so try going outside for a short walk before sitting down.
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A simple thing to do to brighten up your workspace is to add greenery. Plants that might struggle in the dim light of an office can thrive in your home, and you get the added benefit of enjoying them when you’re not working. You don’t need to have as many plants as Summer Rayne Oakes in her home workspace, but even adding a few has been shown to reduce stress and restore your ability to focus.
One challenge I have experienced working from home is transitions. It can be hard to stop doing all those things around the house (emptying the dishwasher, folding the laundry, etc.) and get to work, especially if there’s work you’ve been avoiding. In fact, many writers joke that their house is never tidier than when they are working on a book.
One thing that helps is to have some kind of ritual that marks the transition to a work session. I have a couple of “Get to Work” playlists to help with this: one for writing, one for email. Playlists always start with the same song, so it becomes like a sound trigger that pushes me to focus.
Another transition might be pouring a fresh cup of tea or coffee, a quick stretch, or setting a focus timer (I use the Tide app on my phone).
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Many work-from-home guides advise you to have an actual lunch, but I admit that when I’m in the flow, I much prefer to eat at my desk. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t believe in breaks. As I mentioned above, the main features of breaks for me are getting outside and
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