Posture, pyjamas and clocking off on time: Top tips for working from home
For many of us this may well be the first sustained period of working from home. Some of us are WFH connoisseurs with fancy home offices, and some of us are facing this new challenge on the sofa or the kitchen table.
There is no one right way to work from home, however Connie McAffery, Teaching Support Assistant for British Sign Language has offered up some top tips on making working from home work for you.
1. Sitting pretty or back pain central?
If you can, ensure you are sitting comfortably at a table where your legs can be at a 90′ angle and your back can be straight. If you do not have a desk and table, there are examples online of people who sit on the floor to work. The most important thing is that you are sitting in a way that will not fatigue your back, neck and legs. Prop your laptop up with books or boxes so you are not constantly looking down – it’s not good for your neck and might lead to slouching. You should also make sure you stretch when you need to, and don’t stay sitting down for too long. It’s easy to stay sat down for hours at a time when there’s not the usual distractions of the office.
2. It’s not worth the wrist
We’ve all felt the familiar soreness that tells us we’ve spent far too long on our laptops. Invest in wrist support, or make one out of:
-Rolled up knee-high/ boot socks
-A sandwich bag filled with rice or, considering the shops are bare of rice, any small grainy material.
-A pillowcase, rolled up into an oblong.
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3. Get out and about
As long as it is safe to do so, get outside for your daily exercise. Even if it’s just a walk up and down the street, fresh air will do wonders for your mind, and no one wants to be stuck in the same four walls all day. Make sure you go into another room for your lunch and a 10 minute break every now and then. The perfect excuse to make another tea, we think.
4. Get away from the screen
Try to have some time off without your phone- working digitally can be fatiguing and you need time away from the screen. Not to mention your eyes will thank you.
5. Stretch it out
Don’t overdo it, but working on computers all day can be really hard on your neck, arms, back and legs. Gently stretch them out in different directions to get the cricks out.
You could also check out some of the workouts available from our Personal Training team.
6. Manage your notifications
At work we can only be in one room at a time, but when everyone is working purely online, you can be contacted at any time. If you select ‘Do Not Disturb’ on Teams you will not get notifications. They will still show on the activity bar but will be a lot easier to ignore. You can also turn off notifications on outlook, or turn off the alert noise when you get a email.
7. Check your screen
Can you read your screen clearly without squinting? Teams is on quite a small font, you can hold down ‘CTRL’ and + to make it bigger, or CTRL and – to make it smaller. If you are squinting or straining to read you must make the font bigger.
8. Don’t get the blues
Download an app such as ‘Flux’, which will regulate the amount of blue light your laptop screen gives off. It will change to a slightly more orange hue when the sun goes down, relieving eye strain. It also has other colour-schemes for people who may struggle reading on white.
9. Clock out on time
Make sure you step away from work when you’re finished. Without the commute or physically leaving the office, it can be difficult to switch off. Make sure when you sign out you physically put your laptop away or leave your office/designated area for the evening. A change of clothes could also help signify a change in your mindset.
10. Stay in touch
You may not realise it but when you work in a shared office it’s rare to go five minutes without speaking or socialising in one way or another. It’s so important to maintain communication, a quick video chat with a colleague or a scheduled daily update is a good way to make sure you stay in touch.
11. Pyjamas are great – but not for work
The temptation to stay in our pyjamas all day can sometimes get too much, but getting dressed in the morning will help you to get in the zone and get you in the right mindset. We’re not saying you should sit at the kitchen table in your shirt and tie, but try and keep to your normal routine as much as possible.