This year has been unlike any other for Canadians. In the early months of 2020, the COVID-19 virus took hold of the world. The pandemic has impacted everyone globally, and affected society in a wide range of ways.
One of the ways that Canadians felt this was in the dramatic shift to working from home. Given the COVID-19 pandemic, many employees and their employers are now adjusting to a "new normal" of work-from-home ("WFH") arrangements — and by all accounts it seems to be working!
For some people, their jobs are compatible with this new normal and they will continue to work remotely for the foreseeable future. In this September issue of balance we’d like to share some useful tips to help you make the most of the work-from-home world you might find yourself in.
Declutter your workspace. This can be hard to do at home. Nothing is worse for concentration and cognitive ability than working in a mess. Cluttered workspace? Expect lethargy, crankiness and a particular level of apathy towards your state of affairs.
Anything you don’t use on a daily basis should be organized out of the way. Anything you rarely or never use should be removed from the space entirely.
Working from home most likely means sharing your workspace with others. Ideally you have a spare room for your home office. If you don’t, you’ll have to set some rules and boundaries for how and when the space is used.
Natural lighting is a key to productive, healthy workspace. Make sure that you have access to natural lighting in your home office. Position your desk in front of a window if possible.
Studies show that natural light has a positive impact on productivity. Natural lighting also helps our bodies manage sleep, moods, and our immune system.
If your remote workspace doesn’t have access to natural lighting, invest in full-spectrum bulbs. They are more expensive than a typical light bulb, but they provide a crisp, bright white light ideal for work requiring visual accuracy & attention — like using a screen.
Light your face when having Zoom calls. Working remotely has opened up a whole new way of interacting for many people — "video calls" are common for work-from-homers now.
When you take online meetings from your home office, you should know a little bit about lighting. If your workstation is next to the window, then daylight will take you a long way. Be sure your back isn't to the window. Daylight from behind will cause your face to be completely darkened.
Get out! This one we saved for last. Make as many improvements to your remote office as you like, but one of the biggest moves you can make is to leave it! Go to a coffee shop if it’s safe to do so. If you have a good data plan go sit under a tree in the park if it’s nice out. Do some work from different locations once in a while.
Working from home is likely here to stay for the foreseeable future. Making your environment as optimal as possible will increase productivity and improve your overall well-being.