Before the pandemic, companies were looking for ways to decrease overhead costs and attract potential employees. So businesses sent their employees home with their equipment, passwords, and the whisperings of "Good Luck" to control costs.
The unexpected chaos of the 2020 pandemic pushed additional workers out of the traditional workplace, freeing them from the confines of their cubicles for nearly a year. With the arrival of 2021, vaccines, and other efforts to make work a safe environment, the number of people working in their homes is slowly declining. According to Business Insider, 14% of workers were working from home in June of 2021. This statistic is down from 35% in May of 2021.
However, do not be fooled by these numbers. Despite what corporations and small businesses might want to see unfold over the next several months, their employees are holding up a finger to say --"not so fast!" Members of the workforce finally got a taste of the pros and cons of working from home. While many people voiced their readiness to return to the office where they could be social butterflies and escape their cocoons of social distancing, others found themselves less than enthused to resume the rigors of having to return to the office or dabble in office politics.
This desire to enjoy the perks of working from home is a contributing factor to the Great Resignation. We are witnessing workforce members quitting their jobs in record numbers because they cannot fathom returning to the rat race of working in the office. Instead, they want a job that allows them to work from home.
No matter the impetus for moving from the workplace to your home, you will likely find that working from home demands a foundation of stability that exceeds the simplistic setup of a computer and a phone. If you are to ensure success, there are a few basic steps that you will want to take to ensure your environment positions you for success.
Image Source: Bigstock Photo/Rido81
First, most importantly, you must identify a dedicated space for your office within your residence that will serve or function as office space. If you're lucky enough to have a spare bedroom or study, you should make every effort to use this space as your office area. It is ideal because it becomes a space within the home that is in use for business. In addition, it is separate from the rest of your living space. A dedicated space is beneficial because it minimizes the number of distractions surrounding a space that is otherwise exposed to whatever is happening in the home.
Also, you can secure this space by placing locks on the door and keeping important information away from the roaming eyes of outside visitors or, yes, even family members who should not have access to confidential information about an individual or client.
If you cannot dedicate an entire room in your home to becoming your office space, choose another area or corner of your home that is not too susceptible to foot traffic during your work hours. Ideally, the living room is still not the best option. Instead, you want to choose a space that is not disruptive to your home. Formal dining areas, formal living spaces that no one ever visits, the breakfast area of your kitchen, or a corner space can work just as well as a room. Guest bedrooms are an option too. Although one may not have a choice, the master bedroom is another area you should avoid unless you have a sitting place that is separate from the main master bedroom area of your home. Aside from privacy issues, you don't want the lure of your queen or king-size bed calling to you at your weakest hours during the day when you should be focusing on your business or doing your employer's work, i.e., after-lunch coma.
Just because you work at home does not mean you should short-change yourself on acquiring ergonomic furniture and equipment. If you work for a large organization, they may be able to assist you with ensuring that your chair, desk, computer, monitor, keyboard, and mouse are ergonomically sound. The last thing you want to do is trigger neck or back issues because you have a DIY set up.
If you're self-employed, you can also purchase your tools to assist you in creating an ergonomic space.
Ergonomic Split Keyboards with Adjustable Palm Rests can be highly effective in minimizing your risk for conditions like carpal tunnels. In addition, these keyboards help to support your wrist, allowing for a more effortless, less risky execution of typing.
An ergonomic mouse may also prove highly beneficial in helping to minimize strain to your wrist. They can help to keep your hand and wrist in a handshake position which can reduce pain and stress injuries that sometimes emerge with excessive use.
Finally, do not get thrifty when it comes to purchasing an ergonomic office chair. Your back will thank you for making a serious investment. Prolonged sitting can lead to all kinds of problems if you are doing it in the wrong kind of chair including neck pain, lower back strain, and sciatic pain.
Working from home affords the perks of not having to deal with traffic. However, it can prove to be a bit disorienting to the routine that is achieved with having to leave home for some individuals. The critical thing to remember is that you should get up as though you have to leave home, take a shower, brush your teeth, have breakfast, and then go to the office. Sure, working in your pajamas is a perk, but it is not the best habit to develop.
Get dressed. Now, the good news is that your workplace is casual. You can wear sweats if you choose. Keep in mind that if you are someone who has to spend the day on camera, keep yourself presentable from the neck up. You should never look like you just rolled out of bed.
Remember to start your workday on time and end it as you usually would if you were in the office. For example, if you typically work 30 minutes past your scheduled end-time, do that. If you would generally end your day on time, do that as well. The key is to establish and maintain a routine, and whatever you do, find a way to keep taking your lunch. Some people report falling into the trappings of overdoing it at home because they no longer have to worry about commuting.
Additionally, the awareness of having gained one to two hours back in your day can lead you to overdo it. Just take care not to unwittingly dump those hours back into your workday.
In closing, working from home is an attractive amenity and it offers many advantages. However, ensuring that you have an optimal work-at-home environment, establishing a routine, and adhering to a work schedule is essential to your success.
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