We all know too well what 2020 – and what seems to be at least most of 2021 – has brought us in the age of COVID-19. Working from home and minimal physical time at the office has become intrinsically part of our lives. It has been a difficult transition for some of us, especially when it comes to managing your time and finding harmony with your home environment.
Possibly one of the most important aspects of transition has been the search for a comfortable and practical space in your apartment or house to work in; that does not allow for distractions and more importantly, a setup and space that is comfortable. A lot of us did not realise at first what would change once we started working remotely, but quite quickly we began to perhaps feel aches and pains in our joints which we wouldn’t ordinarily feel – due to our work-from-home setup. Neck strain, eye strain from a long day of looking at a screen and general lack of movement throughout the day. What would be downtime from our screens, in the form of daily meetings and coffee breaks and a lunch break, has been replaced by mindless browsing on our phones and stagnant work flow.
It is therefore vital that we keep ourselves moving and aware of what this strain can do to our bodies in the long run. We don’t mean intense training and exercise regimes on the daily, but stretching for a few minutes every day or a few times a week goes a significant way in aiding our bodies to cope with the monotonous working-from-home regime.
In this post, we explore some ways to optimize your setup at home to prevent these aches, pains of working in a space where your office and home become one.
Watch your eyes
As mentioned earlier, we spend eight hours every day looking at a laptop. Above this, we spend even more hours with a phone or tablet, watching movies or catching up on social media posts and YouTube videos. This of course leads to a build-up of screen time which causes a lot of strain and exhaustion to your eyes and head. In order to help this, we need to take periodic breaks from looking at a screen.
More than ever, we should attune ourselves to be more aware of our bodies. Bad seating is the main reason why we experience the aches and pains: particularly in our shoulders, lower back and neck. Proper and practical seating is extremely vital for good posture.
We need to assure our work surface and chair are at optimal heights, and this will vary from person to person.
Create a tailored structure
As much as we can rely on tips like these can help us, they only really manifest in routine and structure. We all have varying circumstances at home, with some of us living with partners, family, pets or children. Creating a separate space for your work within your home environment would help exponentially to establish a healthy disconnection from your work and downtime routine. It is something worth thinking about, as our daily structure impacts our emotional state too.
A reality we all face regardless of COVID, but an amplified reality that we need to pay attention to. Stress can be increased by feeling out of control or not having enough time to get work done. What can make this worse, is the work day flowing into the evening and one not taking proper off-screen time and relaxation. It is important to find ways that suit you in de-stressing, stress reduction tools like meditation apps can help you manage daily stress, breathe, and maintain calm.
To emphasise an earlier point, prioritising and integrating movement, stretching and breaks during the day is also key to maintaining an efficient work flow balance.
Ultimately, we don’t see things changing very soon, including remote working. Your well-being is top priority during this difficult time. Follow these tips as a guide to ensuring simple steps in maintaining a healthy lifestyle regardless of the restraints we face.