Over the past year, many of us have traded a long drive to the office for a quick commute to the dining table, where work papers and laptops share space with breakfast plates and art projects. Read on for tips to maximize your productivity and protect your well-being while logging office hours at home.
SET UP FOR SUCCESS: Get in gear with a dedicated workspace and routine.
To maintain proper posture, adjust your chair so your feet sit flat on the floor and your knees are in line with or slightly lower than your hips. Then set your desk height to support your forearms with a 90-degree bend to reach the keyboard.
To set your body and mind up for a productive day, dress and groom each morning in the same professional manner you would for the office.
Establish a morning routine that leads to your desk. For example, enjoy a quiet cup of coffee or a short stroll around the neighborhood before logging on to e-mail.
Turn on the video option during virtual meetings, even if it makes you uncomfortable. Video technology helps us avoid feeling isolated and allows more intentional connection with coworkers.
GET MOVING: Break up the day to refresh your brain and increase productivity.
Invest in a standing desk or create your own by positioning your laptop on a bookshelf or raised counter. As at a seated desk, the work surface should be at elbow height so the arms bend at a right angle from the floor when typing.
Try walking while on the phone, even if it’s just around the room. A hands-free headset permits freedom of movement. If possible, take conference calls on a brisk walk outside. Exercise gets blood flowing to the brain for peak performance.
Long periods of intense focus behind a desk can lead to poor posture, headaches, dizziness and eye strain. To avoid this slump, set an alarm reminding you to get up and stretch every hour.
CLOCK OUT: Schedule time away from your desk.
Leaving work is difficult when you literally live at the office. Communicate clear office hours to colleagues and family. Many e-mail servers offer a snooze function to prevent messages from calling you back to work during off hours.
Move away from your workspace, your computer and your cell phone for 30 to 60 minutes each day for lunch.
Take sick days if you become ill. You’ll be more productive in the long run if you allow your body the rest it needs to heal.
Continue “socializing” with teammates, even if not in person, to reduce feeling isolated and anxious. This might include sending funny (work-appropriate) texts, messaging about a new show or volunteering for a virtual charity together.
Photographs by (woman at desk) LStockStudio/Shutterstock & (man reading) Alexander Image/Shutterstock