The How-To Guide for Working at Home

Surviving working from home needn’t be difficult.

What better time to give you our easy how-to guide for making the perfect office working environment than on Work from Home Day? That’s right – on May 17th, we celebrate everything that is good about being able to work from home, now and into the future. Many of us have spent the coronavirus pandemic working diligently away at our desktops and laptops since last March, and we may be starting to get a little bit more tired as time goes on. 

Our guide will set out the key areas you should look at in order to improve the way you work, how to be more efficient, and more importantly to look after yourself. So, let’s take a look and see what working from home in 2021 looks like, and what we can do to make it that little bit better!

Tech This Out

There is no escaping the necessity of having a good set-up to make your working from home experience not only easier, but much more efficient. While old computers can certainly do most office jobs, the speed and performance power at your fingertips needs to be adequate enough to be able to meet the demand your workplace is asking of you. Trust us when we say – moving from a slow computer to a newer, faster one is a welcomed shock to the system sometimes! Faster loading means you spend less time staring at your screen and more time getting down to business, so if you are thinking of an upgrade and it is affordable, get in touch with your work. If they can provide laptops or other technical items to help make your job easier within budget, they will!

Don’t forget: ergonomic mousemats. While you have a virtual set-up, be sure to use a mousemat that has a plush rest if you are in a seated position. This will not only alleviate pressure on the bone in your wrist from spending too long atop the surface of your desk, but it will encourage better posture and be a step towards combating repetitive strain injury. Always be aware of how you are seated, no matter your seat-up, and change posture when necessary.

Decoration Matters

You may not realise it, but the effect your surroundings can have on your work can be quite significant. It is why many offices choose to modernise: not just to allow themselves to be brought up to current building standards, but to have a positive effect on the workers that spend their days within them. Have you ever felt more positive sitting in a bright, cosy, clean office space when compared to a dark, dull, no-windowed room? That is exactly what we mean. The same can also be said for the space you choose to work in at home too.

Finding a balance within your room is key. Decoration should be considered carefully when planning a reshuffle of your at-home office. Brighter coloured walls – even a fresh coat of white paint – can help to amplify the brightness of a room. Large windows are a bonus not only for additional light, but for that moment of respite between difficult tasks. A brief moment sipping at your tea and glancing out of a window can do wonders. Encourage discussion with other residents in your household about what you would like to do with your space, and decorate it to be just the working haven you were missing.

Need something to bring more light in? Take a look at our range of glazed internal doors for sale to get some grand new ideas for your office.

Hydration, Hydration, Hydration

The golden rule for efficiency, both in the office and out of it – staying hydrated. Studies show that ‘drinking a glass of water can improve your concentration by up to 25%’. (Maybe that is why they call some fruit juices ‘concentrate’?!) If we think about what that could mean for our workload during the day, that would account for a quarter of what we can complete. Take care of your body and your mind by having a water-bottle or glass always at hand for when you need it.

There are apps, too, that promote and gamify drinking water to encourage you to stay on top of your daily recommended intake. However you choose to keep track of what you are drinking through the day, make sure to always stay topped up and let yourself bask in the results of your efforts. Reach for the water, not your coffee!

Let’s Get Physical

You’re staying hydrated, have the perfect office built around you, and have all the tech you could need – that should be everything, right? Well – let’s not overlook the most important thing to consider when not just working from home, but working from an office chair in general: your movement. Staying still in a seated position for extended periods of time can put your body at risk of multiple kinds of strain. Not only this, but you begin to run the risk of gaining weight if this is something that you do not desire.

To combat this, set a timer on your phone or desktop. You should take a break once per hour for at least five minutes, and grant yourself time to take a small walk. If that is downstairs to the kitchen for a cup of tea, or just to go and say hello to the family pet, you will be giving your body a valuable piece of exercise and room to stretch your muscles. If you cannot leave your desk, consider adapting stretches into your routine. There are multiple resources online that can show you the best that are available for your body type and the space available to you. Take care of your body and working from home will be far easier!

Take Care Of Your Mindset

With all of the above said, we cannot ignore the importance that having a positive mental space can and does have. The last year has been incredibly difficult for us all, with social limitations in place that have struck many of us to our cores, isolating us from those we love. Working from home for many who are alone has been particularly tough, including the writer of this post. Luckily I have a great support network around me, but not everyone has managed to have the same. In order to combat your mind, you have to take a moment each day to ensure you are nurturing it.

Your mental health cannot be underestimated, and your employers will understand this equally well. If you find yourself starting to wane in productivity and feel the effects of loneliness, you can reach out to resources available through your workplace. Be as open and honest as you can, and your employer will recognise your needs. Listen to professionals’ advice and take the necessary steps to prevent negativity growing. If you find relaxation in a walk outdoors to clear your head, take a walk during your lunch break. If you delight in music, pause for a brief rest with some of your favourite music. Don’t let it get to you – you can do this.

Do Your Best

Working from home is both a delight and a challenge – one that we have all risen to in recent months. We can hope that soon, we will see a return to office spaces and friends once more, but many may choose to continue working from home. That’s great!

If you need supplies for creating an even better working space, visit our sister website at Shawfield Timber for all your plywood and timber needs, or get in touch with our team for advice on your newest projects. We are delighted as always to help.