Just when it looked like life might go back to normal, the Delta Variant of Covid-19 came in like a wrecking ball to all our collective plans. While we mourn the brunches that could have been, and on a less glib note, spare a thought for the frontliners working overtime given hospitals globally are nearing capacity, there is a silver lining to each dark cloud. And for many of us, that’s the continued ability to work from home.
As reported in the BBC, bosses may want their employees back in office ASAP, but it’s simply not happening anytime soon. With the highly contagious Delta strain, risk of exposure and the complicated issue of vaccination choice, the only desks we’re bound to for the time being are the ones in our homes. After a year and a half, if you haven’t gotten your work from home set-up running like a machine, read below to get practical tried-and-tested tips.
1. Stop working off your dining table
At the start of the global lockdown, it might have been okay working off the table where you eat your meals. But for the sake of your sanity, it’s time to make a dedicated work space, if you haven’t already. The goal is to start creating boundaries between work and your personal space. If you have a spare room, clear it out and deck it out to become your official office. Or at the very least, find yourself a dedicated desk to work from, be it a standing desk or one from Ikea.
2. Invest in a good chair when you work from home
Now that you have your working area designated, it’s time to find a good chair to go along with it. Given that you’ll likely be caught in a Zoom call that probably could have been an email, it’s best to make yourself comfortable. While gaming chairs have become the pandemic’s golden buy with more than 300 percent increase in sales due to its durability for long periods, the key is to find a chair that works for you.
3. Personalise your working area
Do you remember how we would decorate our work office with personal artefacts for some colour? Your home office should be treated no differently. Whether it’s plants, pictures or your favourite trinkets, create an environment that allows you to get in work mode. Away from your bed, the kitchen and your TV, you can set the mood for an efficient day ahead. Don’t forget the space behind you as well to create a curated video background. Green screens need no longer apply.
4. Schedule lunch breaks when you work from home
The blurring of personal and work lines has led to time taking on an unusually fluid nature. Work from home days may start and end later as busy parents juggle their children or employees take advantage of a lack of commute. But it’s important to ensure that a minimum of thirty minutes aside is set for some rest and sustenance. Often this precious slot can be taken up by overzealous meeting planners who spotted a break in your calendar. So make sure to physically input in your calendar not only as a reminder to yourself to get up and eat but for your colleagues to respect your time.
5. In fact, enforce some breaks in the rest of your day
Without colleagues to distract you and no water cooler talk to indulge in when you work from home, you can often go for hours without getting up. Such extended periods of inactivity and intense focus can actually do quite a bit of internal damage contributing to the rise of global burn out. If you have a pet, make sure to take it for a walk or enjoy a brief play session. They’ll cherish you for it. Otherwise, consider using online timers such as the Pomodoro timer that counts down 25 minutes of supposed work input and rings an alarm to remind you to take a break.
6. Internet connectivity is key
If working remotely is the new normal, calls dropping due to bad internet is our new pain in the butt. The only thing possibly more frustrating than having to repeat yourself in a virtual presentation is having a 100MB download fail due to poor connection. Check your Wi-Fi routers to ensure that they best serve your Internet provider capabilities. And when in doubt, get a Wi-Fi booster. It’s the special sauce for tackling dead zones at home and boosting overall connection strength.