Is Your Home Office Ready For Remote Work?
Who would have thought six months ago that we will have migrated to work from home entirely? And yet here you are on a first-name basis with our boss’s pet dop. While remote work has gained currency over the past decade, the pandemic drove us to a paradigm shift overnight. The change has been good, but have we managed it well enough?
Remote work is here to stay
According to a recent survey by Gartner of 127 leaders from HR, Legal & Compliance, Finance and Real Estate, 82% intend to permit remote work indefinitely and 47% intend to keep it a norm going forward. The Vice President of Advisory Elisabeth Joyce reported, “The COVID-19 pandemic brought about a huge experiment in widespread remote working.” She went on to say that business leaders are evaluating more permanent remote working arrangements to meet employee expectations and resilience in business operations. This trend stretches well beyond the Silicon Valley and the past few months have given us all the time to reflect and contour our lives around a new way of life.
Crafting your home office
The running joke is that we’re not really “working from home” but “living at work”. A good internet connection a laptop is not merely enough to grapple with this new world order. While companies figure out a way to manage work hours and productivity in this new world order, it might be time to re-evaluate individual home-offices.
With a simple combination of space, time, and minimal equipment, one can make sure that they stay comfortable, productive and mentally healthy as we adapt to a fresh routine. How many times in the past few months did we forget to seek out valuable bits of information from a client? Or email an important report? Or simply do due diligence to an employer because we were overwhelmed with too much to do and too little time?
If this sounds familiar, your home office needs a thoughtful upgrade. Here’s a quick list.
A work-station that separates the noise and background of the rest of your home can go a long way. Preferably a room with a doo to keep it quiet and private. In your best interest, it is good to set apart a sacred workspace to “go-to” every day. This includes dressing up for work and staying true to your work ethic.
Marshmallow-soft couches, kitchen tables, and instagram-worthy vintage furniture won’t do here. Less is more, and minimalism is the new cool. Make sure your work desk is free of clutter and your chair is height-adjustable and appropriate for 40 - 50 hours a week.
Author of Atomic Habits James Clear it articulates three time management tips:
- Eliminate half-work at all costs.
- Do the most important thing first.
- Reduce the scope, but stick to a schedule.
Perhaps its also time to reflect on personal habits like moving beyond the bed or the sofa, keeping your kids and pets away and eating meals away from your PC.
Another key factor that influences productivity, health, and comfort is posture. Sitting in the right posture for long hours takes endurance. Use a friendly device like Strack (insert link) to gently remind you every time you begin to slouch. Make sure you take regular breaks and exercise. According to the Occupational Safety &Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines, there are four alternate workstation postures: upright sitting, standing, reclining and declining.
Soft lighting, indoor plants, great ventilation, and focus music may make good additions to your work life. Simple investments like these can bring both comfort and efficiency. Technology and ergonomics can come together to make your work smart, efficient, and enjoyable.
It’s interesting how scientists, designers, engineers, researchers, healthcare practitioners and health tech innovators are contributing their unique voices to remote work ergonomics. As humans collectively evolve to adapt to this culture, I hope we each do our bit to pay forward progressive work ethics, physical and mental health that the next generation will take on. All said and done, 2020 taught us, white-collar professionals, that remote work is here to stay.