Working from Home

19 Jan 2021 Anne Marie Fogarty

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If 2020 brought one significant change to our working lives, it has to be the rise in home working practice. As lockdown was announced nationally back in Spring 2020, we huddled to our homes for protection and safety. However, work needed to continue where possible, so if we could not get to the office, then the office came to us.

Like many organisations, we at ProMedical had to adapt rapidly to home/remote working practices yet stay focused on productivity and essentially ensure our clients and candidates needs were met. Our staff enabled us to seamlessly flow from office-based working to home working-yes, at first there were hurdles to jump, but we quickly merged into a remote working style that allowed us to deliver staffing solutions across the UK just as we had been doing in the office. For us, the key was to remain connected and to communicate frequently.

Remote or home working has many advantages, and many businesses look set to prolong and even permanently use this flexible working style into the future.

The key advantages of homeworking are outlined below:

  1. No commute- Saving on fuel fees and saving the environment at the same time.
  2. Financial savings- Employers can save thousands annually on business premises and rent, council taxes, parking charges, etc. While employees also save on ‘dining out’ lunches (less tempting to eat out if your already home), parking fees, transport costs etc.
  3. An improved work-life balance- Inevitably, you will see more of your family, housemates, or pets when working from home. Additionally, less time coming and going to work is time you can spend with your loved ones, or enjoying your hobbies, pastimes or simply relaxing with a glass of red in your south-facing garden!
  4. There can be challenges such as distractions at home. It is not easy to juggle children and work; however, if homeworking is carried out in an organised manner, it can be both productive and cost-effective.

How can you improve your home working habits?

  • First, get set up- have a dedicated quiet space with a desk, laptop, and the necessary items you need to work. Try to avoid areas of the home with lots of noise, traffic, and people. Set up a workstation at the correct height and level for your back, which will not cause unnecessary back strain. A comfortable, well lit, warm, well-ventilated space with minimal distractions is best.
  • Be ultra-organised – set a schedule on Sundays for the week ahead and stick to it. Know where you are to be and when (e.g., Zoom Call at 9 am on Tuesday, Microsoft Teams Meeting at 2 pm on Thursday) Having a visual planner is essential for good scheduling.
  • Become disciplined- set a start time and finish time and ensure you switch off when you finish-otherwise you will risk burnout quickly.
  • Prioritise tasks- make sure you know what is essential and what can wait.
  • Create sticky notes with little positive words written on them to boost you in those lonely moments when you miss the social aspect of the office.
  • Remain connected – make time for meetings and catch-ups; even if it is a quick hello to a colleague- try to stay in touch.
  • Don’t forget to have healthy snacks and water at your side. If you are home all day, it can be a temptation to snack on junk foods or quick sandwiches and snacks instead of proper homecooked meals. Make breakfast, lunch, and dinner a priority. Snack on fruit, nuts, veggie sticks, and drink lots of water. Okay, maybe you can indulge in a cake with a cappuccino on Fridays, as long as it’s not a daily treat!
  • Go to bed early- sleep is vital for overall concentration levels and energy requirements. Just because you are working from home does not mean you stay up late and don’t need to stick to a healthy routine.
  • Reach out to managers and colleagues if you need help or support.
  • Take regular breaks to exercise and stretch.
  • Don’t forget to let in plenty of fresh air and go for a walk at lunchtime.

Conclusion

Working from home has a lot to offer and allows for more time with family and loved ones. It is undoubtedly going to remain a popular alternative to traditional office work. Once routines are set in place, and you remember to switch off at the end of the day, you’ll see many benefits to this working model.

Takeaway Tips – Ergonomic ways to improve your workspace at home

  • Position your screen properly – to reduce eyestrain, position you screen arm’s length from your face.
  • Change positions- regularly change from sitting to standing.
  • Lighting- glare on the screen should be avoided so place the screen away from window light.
  • Give your eyes a break- every 20 minutes, for 20 seconds, focus on an object 20 feet away. This allows your eye muscles to rest.
  • Keyboard – awkward wrist, arm, and shoulder positions may lead to discomfort and injury. Adjust the height of the keyboard so that your wrists are in line with your forearm.
  • Chair – adjust your chair, so your feet are flat on the floor, your chair’s lumbar support should be supporting your lower back.
  • Get up and move – Alternate long spells of screen work with rest breaks (at least 5 minutes every hour).

 

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