Simple Home Office Hacks for Month 2 of Quarantine
1) Keep it ergonomic
Think your laptop is all you need? It might’ve sufficed before, but now you’re working from home full-time. A day of slouching & squinting can quickly turn into backaches & headaches. Consider adding an office chair, second screen, laptop stand, standing desk or other devices you might need. Get creative, a couple dictionaries can double as your laptop stand & any high table can serve as a standing desk. In terms of posture, try to stick to the law of 90 degrees: Seated upright with feet on the floor & arms resting on the armrests, your ankles, knees & elbows should all be at 90 degrees.
2) Choose your space wisely
If possible, set up your work space away from your bedroom so that you don’t carry your work into your dreams. Avoid communal & high-traffic areas. It’s easier to get distracted & harder to reenergize if your spaces overlap. Find a spot with natural light & install sufficient artificial lighting too. Remove unpleasant clutter & opt for a houseplant instead. Create a pleasant space that you enjoy!
3) Use mental cues
Those living in small apartments who don’t benefit from a separate office can designate their work space in other ways. For example, if you only have one kitchen table to work on, mark its transformation into your workstation every morning by clearing it off & changing its orientation. When you’re finished, move it back to its original spot & light a candle. Mental cues like this impact your focus during the day & your relaxation in the evening.
4) Map out your day
Write out your schedule in the morning. Place it within sight & share it with your family so that everyone is on the same page. When will you take your lunch break? When are you off the clock? This not only reminds you of your intentions for the day, but it helps your family work together as a unit & avoid unnecessary disturbances or misunderstandings.
5) Prioritize tasks
Expanding on that, set goals every morning & prioritize them. Working from home, especially with your family present, can present productivity challenges. If you don’t manage to make it through your whole list, but you’ve organized your tasks in order of importance, you’ve at least checked off the most critical points first.
6) Signal your work hours
Check in with your colleagues on messenger & say goodbye when you finish up for the day. If you can, set up status updates in your team messaging tool that clarify if you’re at your desk, in a meeting or on a break. Consider posting your private phone number so that urgent messages still reach you. This level of communication has the added advantage of creating a sense of solidarity & connectedness with your colleagues.
7) Take breaks!
At the office, breaks tend to be distinct since we wander to the coffee machine or chat with colleagues. At home, instead of just browsing the internet for five minutes here & there, set a timer, stand up & give your eyes a moment away from the screen.
Make this transition easier on yourself by creating a home workstation that supports you!