Working from Home 101

Working from Home 101

Working from home seems to be a good option for you and your employer even after the pandemic is over.  You have agreed to give it a try to see if it is a good working plan for all concerned.  There are many things to consider when transitioning to working in the new environment in order to make this a practical arrangement.

Work From Home Tips From An Occupational Therapist

  • Workspace

    Ideally, you should have an area to work in that provides enough room for a proper ergonomic setup of your office necessities, such as your desk, chair, and technical devices. A door or partition will provide a visual reminder that this is your place of work.

  • Distractions

    Make sure that you have everything that you need when you sit down to work. Resist the urge to get snacks, do chores, etc. once you have planned your designated time to work.  While working on the computer, stick to what you are doing.

    There is a world of information and entertainment on the Internet, and although it is difficult to do, you must not give in to the urge to click on any link that is not related to your current task. Similarly, your designated work time is not a time to place or receive personal calls, especially those that will take ‘just a minute’.  They rarely do.

  • Visualize your workday

    Dress for your job if it helps you visualize your professional image, even if no one can see you. If you feel sloppy, it can be reflected in your work and communications.  While allowing yourself to be comfortable, keep in mind that your clients are still expecting you to be in business mode, and your work environment should not affect that impression.

    You should present the same image and confidence that you would have if you were to attend your workplace in person and be directly interacting with others. Take a few minutes at the beginning of each workday to review your daily ‘to do’ list and get yourself in a businesslike frame of mind.  Recap this same list at the end of your day to recognize your accomplishments, and to see if there are any improvements that could be made.

  • Dedicated work time

    Dedicate a number of hours to doing your best work. If you have the type of job that allows some flexibility, your hours do not necessarily have to be consecutive.  Taking a break midway through the day and continuing your work in the evening, for example, may work best for you. Perhaps you are required to work a certain core block of hours that is common to your coworkers to allow for collaborative work opportunities.

    Keep in mind that working from home does not translate into being available 24/7.  Treat your home office schedule as you would an offsite workplace. Set your hours, and stick to them, including your end of day. You no longer have the micromanagement of a superior checking to see if you are in your office working, or if you regularly arrive late or leave early.

    Even though you may not have been working productively at all times, you had to be accountable.  On the other hand, you may be missing the immediate positive reinforcement of someone close by to recognize your accomplishments and encourage you to reach your daily goals.  It may feel like your hard work is going unnoticed.  Self affirmations of a job well done will soon develop as you get used to this new working arrangement.

  • Take breaks

    Take the time for periodic breaks to rest your eyes and stretch your body. Get out of your chair and walk around for a bit, look at things in the distance to give your eyes a different focus.  Doing this at regular intervals will refresh you and prevent soreness and eyestrain.

    Your occupational therapist or other healthcare providers can suggest a variety of exercises that can be done on your breaks as well as when you are sitting at your desk to keep you refreshed and able to concentrate.