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Working from home - How to do it right

In every crisis, exist opportunities as well.

Many people have now been asked to work from home, and this presents a unique opportunity to showcase your ability to maintain productivity and professionalism, no matter where you are.

That being said, it is very difficult to do this if you do not create the physical space that will allow you to focus, and to be comfortable and creative.

Here are some tips that will allow you to transform a home space into an ergonomic workspace -

  1. Separate work and home – even when you work from home. Ideally, create a space that is separate, but if that is not possible, and you are working from a dining table or similar, then use a token – when I first started my company, and worked from a desk in the bedroom, I used a briefcase – when it was open next to me, I was ‘at work’. This is important, so create a sign that says to you and those around you – “I’m in work mode now”. This can be anything – putting on a jacket, having your watch on, having your laptop open –make it meaningful for you!

  2. Now create a comfortable space – most desks are at a standard height, so that is not the problem. The chairs at home are lower than office chairs, so unless you have a home office chair already, you need to raise yourself up. Use a cushion so that you are at a more comfortable height for keyboarding. To anchor your feet, take a box, 15-20cm high, that you can rest your feet on when you are sitting comfortably back in the chair. This in turn helps to stabilise your pelvis and relax your back. If you don’t do this, you will find yourself perching at the front edge of the chair.

  3. The tough part about working from home is that you really are your own best or worst enemy. The fridge is always just there, the kids are playing the latest video game, and the couch looks so inviting. Be realistic, don’t even try sit for a 3 hours non-stop session. Draft a daily task sheet that has the main goals to achieve. Have a 30 minute rule – the rule is that you have to work for at least that length of time before the luxury of a coffee or anything else.

  4. You won’t completely avoid distractions, but by being realistic, you will ensure that the work goals are achieved, and that you can maintain a work-from-home balance.

As we started off saying, this crazy time represents a unique opportunity -  to be home, and to be with kids and spouses during precious day time hours.

At the same time, there are work demands, and if we do this in the right way, we can use this time to be productive and disciplined too.

Done right, your boss may even send you home to work when this madness is all over...

Want to know more how to best work from home? read our Work Smart Principles

Working from home - How to do it right