Working from home may be something you’ve been longing to do, or circumstances may have made it necessary. However, working from home is not for everyone, and can come as a bit of a shock to the system, particularly if you have been used to going into a busy office every day, surrounded by your colleagues. So, how do you make a success of it? Dr Ryan Shelton Zenith Labs has considerations that you should be aware of about your health and diet when it comes to working from home. There are many more concerns too that you need to address to make your work environment a safe and healthy workspace.
Create a Workspace
When you’re preparing to work from home, one of the first things you need to focus on is creating a space to carry out your job. If you think you can lay in your bed with your laptop, or stretch out on the couch, we’ve got news for you – it won’t work. Well, maybe for five minutes. What you need to do instead is earmark a corner of your house, or preferably a whole room to create an office. Ideally, it needs to be equipped with a desk, chair, and computer equipment, along with space to file your documents and any books you may need. It needs to be an area of your home that, once you enter, you know that you’re there to work and not to be distracted!
Picture below: Dr. Ryan Shelton, Zenith Labs
If you don’t have any room in your house to create a workspace, then look outside. Do you have a garage that you can convert? Or could you create a small outhouse or extension? Some people find it helps to have a separate area outside the main building, so they feel they are going to ‘the office’ and truly breaking away from home life.
If you’re converting any outside areas, like the garage, make sure it’s fit to work in, which includes ensuring it’s warm, it has power, it’s clean, and it’s safe. You’ll want to check that there are no infestations of any sort too.
Think carefully about your furniture. A good chair is worth investing in as it will support your back as you work, helping you to avoid repetitive strain injuries when you work.
Look After Your Health
Even though working from home can be convenient in so many ways, when it comes to our health there are concerns. True breaks for mealtimes can be skipped as we instead carry on with our work and snack at our computers. You need to set aside time to eat properly, putting the computer and paperwork to one side for at least a 30-minute break where you concentrate on eating something properly, rather than snacking on junk, or worse still overeating things like crisps and sugary snacks.
Working from home can also lead to pressure on your eyes. Blue Light is an issue for those who spend a long time staring at screens, and working from home can actually lead to workers spending more time at their screens rather than less. Make sure you set some rules about your working hours and put the computer down a long time before bed.
Create a Schedule
Another important thing you need to do to make sure your home office is up-to-par is to have a schedule in place for your week ahead. Don’t try and just work now and then, around other things, as this will not be very productive in the long run. If you have to keep dropping things and then pick them back up, it can make straightforward tasks longer and more complicated. If you can, set particular work hours. It may be 0930 to 1530 for example, if you have children at school. When you have defined your working hours, stick with them and plan your time effectively.
Create House Rules
If you have a family or you share your house with others, you need to make sure there are rules in place around your work schedule. You need everyone to understand that you’re at home to do your job, not to be distracted. Try and ensure that all those in your home respect your hours of work and don’t disturb you. Any temptation may take you away from your desk and put you behind.
Don’t forget, when your working hours are over, step away from the computer and enjoy your time off!
Picture below: Dr Ryan Shelton of Zenith Labs reading to his children after a long day’s work.