If home truly is where the heart resides, for many Canadians, the COVID-19 outbreak is increasingly where the office also exists. Even when the crisis subsides, a great many employees working from home will continue to do so as businesses restructure the way they operate.
The good news is that the home office has advantages, for both employers and employees. Employers may find savings in being able to downsize or reconfigure operations if they find that they don’t need all their current space because a sizeable number of employees continue to work from home. For employees, the benefits are obvious, starting with the financial and time savings of not having to commute to a workplace.
Nevertheless, there are challenges such as having employees connected to the larger team so that they are engaged creatively and collaboratively. Dealing with issues like isolation will also require some thought.
Here are some thoughts on solutions and resources to help employees make the best of their home office.
Ways to Help Make The Home Office a Successful Experience
- Regardless of whether you have a dedicated room in the home to set up your home office, or you’ve set up a temporary work space at the dining table, having an ergonomic chair can help you remain productive at your tasks and improve your general well-being. Chairs that are not meant to support your posture while siting for a long period of time, can do long-term damage to your body. Invest in a good desk chair that will support your body as you move.
- Ensure your home workspace has the resources to help you stay connected to the larger team, such as messaging, video- and tele-conferencing, information sharing, scheduling, and other tools that will help you stay connected and productive.
- Structure is important, so try to maintain regular working hours when working from home. But remember to set boundaries so that you aren’t ‘on the clock’ round the clock.
- Stay focused. Remember, you are on the job even when working from home, and results will be expected.
- Time spent at the office is time spent with others, often talking about matters of common interest. Employees working from home can miss that social time. Scheduling ‘social chats’ where you can engage others in non-work discussions can help alleviate a sense of isolation, loneliness, or being disconnected.
When we think of it, staying connected to the office and part of the team may be the easy part of this equation, as the solutions and resources are fairly obvious and readily available. Avoiding the blues that may arrive from working alone, however, may be more challenging. Here are some thoughts on that.
Exercise and Diet Are Key Components to Making the Home Office Work
Boredom driven by lack of human interaction found in offices can, in extreme cases, lead to issues including depression and a sense of being disconnected. If not structured properly, a work-from-home regime can be unproductive, leading to tasks not getting done and poor communication channels.
- Proper diet and exercise routines are invaluable in preventing mental health issues brought on by feelings of isolation. If working from home becomes a bit tedious from time to time, change locations.
- Diet tips include not working too close to the kitchen, to avoid temptation, and planning for snack and mealtimes. On the other hand, do remember to actually eat and focus on eating healthy foods. Avoid junk food.
- When working from home, make use of a quality ergonomic chair. A flexible workstation that allows one to work while standing is also a good idea. If your workstation is not as ergonomic, remember to change postures from time to time.
- Move about at least once an hour, perhaps even going outside for a walk. If you have exercise equipment at home, use it. If not, you can still exercise through stretches, running or walking up and down the stairs (as long as your health permits it). There’s lots you can do in and around your home office. The weather is improving, so go out for a walk or a bike ride.
Identified benefits of exercise include reduced levels of anxiety and stress, better sleeping patterns, increased self-confidence and alertness. Along with remote work strategies, good exercise and eating routines can help make the home office a success for both employees and employers. Contact the experts at POI for more information to make your home office a success.