With the actual global health crisis, companies are increasingly requesting employees to work from home to isolate them from potentially catching or spreading COVID-19.

Working from home can be good but also a challenge. The idea of working from home in our pyjamas all day, taking lots of breaks… well given the current economic situation, it’s best to stay focused, productive, and always connected. Here are some tips to help you work effectively from home.

Choose your Workspace

If you already have a dedicated office space in your house, perfect but given how quickly the situation has unfolded, you may be rushing to find somewhere to set up your workspace.

First you will need a clear surface to your computer and other needed materials.

There must be plenty of leg room, and your thighs should not be squashed against the underside.  Try your kitchen or dining table for example.

Make the space work for you. If it’s too bright for your computer screen, close the curtains. If you have distracting noise at home, you could use noise-cancelling headphones. Air-condition the room to regulate a comfortable temperature if necessary.

Use the right tech tools

Stay connected and in the loop by using chat and video conferencing programs such as Microsoft Teams, Skype or Facetime.

Video conferences can, unintentionally, be illuminating to workmates and clients when they are suddenly exposed to your home. Check out what is in the background if you are on a call. If it’s messy, or there are too many personal items visible, tidy up. Also be aware that microphones can pick up sounds such as dogs barking, so try to take calls in a quiet place.

It’s important to try and dress professionally while at home, especially if you are video conferencing with clients.

Make sure you are looking straight at the camera, not down to it or you will find yourself depressed at the shape and size of your chin.

Try to minimise the number of programs that use the internet while video conferencing, as this can result in a poor connection and irregular video, which is frustrating for everyone involved.

Pay attention to your ergonomics

Feeling great promotes motivation and efficiency, so if you are comfortable, you will get through your work more effectively.

When selecting a chair, you should pick one that enables you to sit and work at the right height.

Don’t be tempted to buy a multi-adjustable chair, cheap or expensive, just because it is labelled ‘ergonomic’. What matters is whether your set-up fits you, enabling comfortable, well-supported posture.

Your lower back should be well supported, your shoulders level, and your feet supported without under-thigh pressure.

 Respect the Workspace

To ensure you have a supportive work environment, you’ll need to have a serious family discussion about respecting the workspace and your work goals both while you’re working and away from your desk.

  • Establish work hours where everyone knows that you need quiet, uninterrupted time to focus.
  • Create signs that can be put up to signal when you’re working and can’t be disturbed, when absolute quiet is needed and when you’re taking a break.
  • Set up ground rules for issues that should be brought to your attention immediately and what will have to wait until you’re done with work.

When the lines between work and home are blurred quality time with the family can suffer, even if you see them more. Multitasking isn’t the solution, because then both work and family time aren’t given your full attention. Create a home office that allows you to be as productive as possible at your job so fewer hours are spent working.

Keep up your physical and mental health

Working from home can be lonely, but you don’t need to be isolated from your colleagues. They are going through the same thing, so keep up the good mood and keep it fun.

Give yourself a well-deserved break at each hour. Stretch, do a few push-ups, pet the dog/cat/bunny and drink water. It will refresh your mind and help you feel motivated.