Home Working

Working from home is not easy. There can be more distractions than usual, so it’s essential, if you can, to use or make a separate space for your home-office.

So, the first step is to identify a space that’s as usable. If you’re fortunate enough to have a spare box room it‘s a good option.

Utilise what you already have. Tables, desk lamps, chairs, all can be repurposed. The important thing is to not forget about the normal office health and safety aspects; i.e. try to arrange that you can work at a good height, without long awkward stretches for mice or other peripherals. The space has to be comfortable and fit for purpose if you’re going to spend several hours at a time there or longer.

If you have an old set of drawers these can be great to declutter a space. If your workspace is cluttered it creates a mental strain, whether you realise it or not.

Take a small break every hour; stretch, move around, relieve your eyes by focussing on objects far away. It’s all too easy when working from home to forget the time, not take breaks and be over sedentary.

Over time you can improve the space, by using LED table lights that are set at daylight temperatures, getting an adjustable office chair and other such things, but they are not necessary straight away.

If you have to use a video camera for remote working, then this too can affect your choice of location for your home office. Having a neutral blank wall behind you, with no distractions in the camera’s field of view, is best.

Try not to have the camera point towards a window, as 1) you’ll have daylight spilling onto you screen, which will cause eyestrain and 2) the backlight will make you all but invisible to the camera. Try to use a desk light to give your face some illumination. Your colleagues will feel more comfortable if they can see you properly. Having a light on your face for video conferencing also helps remind you that you are presenting and not just casually chatting.

Control emails. According to a report by the Institute of Leadership and Management 83% of remote workers feel overwhelmed by emails and 88% struggle with inconsistent working practices and miscommunication. If anything, remote work requires a greater degree of structure than traditional office work.

If you do this right, the majority of people become more productive and have a better work life balance, so it can be great for you and your employer. And as an additional benefit, the lack of commuting is already having environmental benefits.