Home working is here to stay. We’ve seen so many people in the last year whose physical conditions have been helped by working from home. And just as many whose condition has been brought about or exacerbated by working from home.
This article is us sharing our experience of the good practice and bad practices that have helped or hindered our clients working from home in their bid to recover from injury. So if you’re injured, or not, this is a good one not only to help you survive working from home, but thrive. We’re hoping his guide helps keep you injury free and feeling good.
Where To Work From Home
Please not on the sofa – do you know how many people we’ve seen broken due to too much work on the sofa? Not in the bedroom. The bedroom is for two things! It’s so bad for your mental state and your sleep pattern if you’re in your bedroom all the time. If you absolutely have to use your bedroom due to lack of space try to ensure that you have a separate desk space that is as far away from the bed as possible and with the bed also ideally out of view.
Ideally we’d all have a dedicated office right? Maybe you do. Wherever you do work from at home, try to have a desk and chair. If you don’t have an expensive captain of the starship enterprise type one then a good old fashioned upright wooden chair is just as good. It’s up to you to sit on it properly. Here’s a video how to do just that:
Wherever you work mix it up a bit. Try and keep it fresh to keep your brain creative and ever changing. Go to the local café, try on the beach, in the park, wherever. Variety is important for long periods of working from home.
When To Work From Home
Trust your instincts. When do you do your best work? When can you fit it around other life / family commitments. Be fluid and flexible in your thinking here but always allow at least a couple of hours before heading to bed to unwind.
Keep mixing it up and trying different things. Some days some things will work better than others. Some days you’ll be on it and super-efficient. Some days you won’t. Cut yourself some slack and allow those natural ebbs and flows to happen without beating yourself up.
Once you know what is going to work best for you to do your best work tell people. Family, colleagues, bosses. Work really hard to set your stall out and let people know what you need. If there is something in the way of that, remove it! Ok, well that might be a bit tricky. But if you understand what you need you’re more likely to get it, or something closer to it.
How To Work From Home
The first thing to get right is to your physical office set up. Here’s a link a previous article we wrote on How To Set Up Your Desk. Obviously not all of the advice we give in this document will be possible when working from home. But have a good read through and implement as much of it as you can.
If you need to buy something new to make it happen just get it! So many people procrastinate about changing their set up and end up paying the price with an achy back, a RSI or whatever. Get on with it and order all the kit you need and then try to get work to cover the cost!
Remove all distractions. Children, pets, social media, phones, food, booze, house work all of them. We talk about distractions from mindfulness in this article here. A lot of the distractions we talk about in the article can be applied to working from home. It can of course be hard to ‘remove’ the children. But if you can you’ll be more efficient doing your work and you’ll get more quality time with them when you’re done. And not distracted time with them when you feel like you should be working.
Break down work into manageable chunks. We all know we should, but do we? We’ve found the research presented in the excellent book Peak Performance to be very motivational in this regard. We’ve even written an article about all the best bits to perform at your peak here. Many of which can be applied to working from home.
For example, the book recommends to take a short break every 50-90 minutes dependent on personal concentration levels. Optimal duration of the break is 6 minutes minimum, ideally out of the house.
Longer breaks are important too. Always take a lunch. Ideally an hour and again ideally with some time out of the house and moving.
If you really can’t get away with an hour please don’t eat your food at your desk while answering emails! Move away from the desk, sit and eat away from the screen and go for a quick whizz around the block. At least you’ll be a bit rested and fresher after that.
Eat that frog! It’s an expression we just came across in our research for this piece which really struck a chord. It means, I think, get on with the unpleasant stuff. Don’t’ keep distracting yourself with the easy stuff you can chalk off your list. Get on with the bits you don’t want to do. You’ll feel better for it when they’re off your back.
Make sure you’re communication is as good as it possibly can be. Inevitably we miss visual cues when communicating over video conferencing. It’s worth doing that extra bit of checking to make sure everyone is pulling in the right direction.
Pick a finish time each day and stick to it. If you’re rubbish at sticking to a finish time arrange to do something after work so you have to finish on time. Maybe meeting up with a friend. Or spending time with the family. Give yourself a reason to down tools. It will keep you fresher and actually make it easier to hit deadlines.
How To Switch Off From Working From Home
Try changing your clothes at the end of your day. It puts a nice full stop on your day and psychologically enables you to go from one mode of being to the next.
Do some relaxation breathing when you’ve downed tools. Just 5 minutes will make the world of difference. You will always come up from relaxation breathing feeling more relaxed. Even if not you’re totally enlightened afterwards your day will be better compartmentalised giving your more head space to enjoy your evening.
Stretch out the muscles that will have got tight after a days worth of sitting down. We’d recommend some relaxing Yin Yoga you can find here online. If you’ve got 15 minutes do 15 minutes. If you’ve got an hour do an hour. If you have very little time try this stretch for a few minutes:
Start with the easy version over the end of your bed to make sure it doesn’t hurt your back. If it still hurts lay on your back and do some relaxation breathing instead, as mentioned above.
After Working From Home
Ensure you’re getting enough human interactions. Especially if you’re a single person living alone. Plan extra social interactions so you know you will be getting that much needed lift from spending time with other people.
Get moving. The less we move the harder it becomes. We’ve spoken already about getting some movement in during your working day. If it’s your thing make sure you’re prioritising some higher intensity exercise to get those endorphins flowing. If it’s not your thing then get out for a nice relaxing walk. Preferably in nature to help up lift the soul.
All in all just make sure you show up. Some days will be better than others. Accept that and don’t berate yourself when you’re not feeling so good. Some days you’ll need to slug it out. That’s ok. So long as you continue showing up you’ll get done what you need to get done.
If you’re still unmotivated by all of these points and none of this works then perhaps working from home is not for you. Or perhaps you’re simply in the wrong job. If that is that case; do something different. Find out what you do want and need to do and take your first brave steps in that direction.
For the rest of you we hope that enhances your experience of working from home. Go forth and thrive!
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