10 Tips for Working From Home
With the onslaught of the coronavirus, many people have suddenly been directed to work from home. (Abbreviated WFH, for those not in the know!) While this may seem like a dream come true for many, telecommuting has it's own challenges. In my previous career in Corporate America, I worked remotely 4 days a week - it's not as easy as you think. Here's some tips for working from home from your PT's own experience!
1. Get Up
It may be tempting to sleep in a little later. After all, your commute is now the time it takes to get from your bed to your computer. Keeping your routine, however, is important to your success in the realm of working from home. Get up, get going.
2. Put on Pants
Why put clothes on, if you're working from home? Your mindset is different if you've actually kept your morning routine by running through the shower, eaten breakfast, and gotten dressed for work. I'm not advocating you wear your actual business attire, but simply putting clothes on is a signal that this isn't a Lazy Sunday.
3. Turn the TV Off
Avoiding distractions is paramount in maintaining your productivity. It's tempting to just turn the news on, or have your favorite channels running in the background. I know for myself that if any Harry Potter marathon is on, then it's game over for my brain. I'll just stop everything else and watch. Try putting some upbeat music on, instead.
4. Start on Time
Remember - you're still at work. Don't delay the inevitable! You may find it helpful to start the day with a simple task, just to get started. Create a schedule and task list, and stick to it.
5. Stay Off of the Couch
This is where the PT advice comes in - don't sit on your couch with your laptop and work! This posture puts your low back and neck into excessive flexion for long periods of time. Stress + Time = Injury. Just because it's called a "laptop" doesn't mean that that's where it belongs. To avoid neck pain, shoulder pain and low back pain, stay off of the couch!
6. Use or Make a Desk
As a continuation of the above, find a place to set up shop. If you have a desk and adjustable chair, use it. If you don't have a desk at home, then consider using a dining room table or breakfast table. If you have a breakfast bar in your kitchen, use that with an appropriate height stool. Make sure you have ample space to spread out and do your work.
7. Take Breaks
Once you're "in the zone" with work, it's easy to forget to get up and move. Make sure that you're taking breaks to move your body and clear your head. Some of my favorite office tips: 1) Set an alarm to get up, stretch, do your work PT exercises - and DO IT when your alarm goes off!; and 2) Use sticky notes to jot down your current train of thought so that you can step away, clear your head, and pick up right where you left off.
8. Call It A Day
One of the easiest things to do when you're working from home is to just keep working. After all, you don't have to commute home, so why not just take the extra 15 minutes to wrap up that project? Soon, 15 minutes turns into an extra 2 hours. Just as you start on time, you should also end on time. See above re: sticky notes.
9. Put It Away
At the end of your work day, pack up your "office" and put it away until tomorrow. If you leave your work spread out, you'll be tempted to come back to it and get sucked back in. Make that separation between your workspace/work day, and your living space/off-the-clock life.
10. Exercising Creatively
Finally, it's important that we exercise and move with purpose. More shops, restaurants and gyms are closing during the coronavirus outbreak, so we're not required to leave the house as much. Still, if getting out for a run or a walk isn't possible, there's many options to work out in your own home. Many gyms and fitness coaches are posting simple body weight exercises online and social media. I have been a big fan of the Beach Body family of exercise programs (I have no financial stake in Beach Body!). My personal fave is P90X3: the workouts require very little equipment, and the workouts are 30 minutes each. And with their On Demand service, Don't let telecommuting get in the way of staying active!
We hope that this helps! If you have any questions or concerns, don't hesitate to reach out to us.
Mark M Lusk, DPT, OCS, CFMT