Tips for Successful Remote Work

An increasing number of global companies around the world have announced during the past months their plans to continue the option of working from home for anyone who wishes to do it so after the pandemic. 

According to a Norwegian University of Science and Technology study published by the Journal of Praxis in Higher Education, the arguments for this include --but are not exclusive to-- the following:

  • Greater flexibility in organizing work and family life situations seems to significantly reduce stress for many people, which in turn improves their health

  • Time that was previously used for commuting --especially long commuting-- or travelling between meetings can now be used for other things, which in turn may lead to higher productivity and quality of the work (some people's commute may take two to four hours of their day, in cases even longer, and shorter distances may be doubled due to traffic jams in big cities)

  • One common argument that has repeatedly been discussed is that a home office situation provides fewer distractions and can make people more efficient 

  • Employers, for their part, see and welcome the opportunity for reduced travel costs and less need for office space

All in all, a typical win-win situation that carries the potential to make everyone happier, healthier, more productive, and more efficient. 

If you are working fully remote or in a hybrid model --some days from home, some days from the office), following some simple tips while working remote from home may keep you motivated, healthy, productive, and overall successful in reaching a perfect work-life harmony and balance. 

Maintain boundaries between work and life 

You can work from home whether you are freelancing, are hired by a company, or are your own boss. When you work from home it is important to maintain boundaries between your work and your life. Working from home you can tailor your working space according to your needs and preferences. You skip the commute and lunch is always fresh and homemade. 

With more flexibility also comes more responsibility. If you don't set clear boundaries soon you could find yourself working twice the hours you worked in an office, with no breaks, no lunch hour, and basically no time for anything else. 

The best way to set your boundaries is by establishing some routines and office rules that you must follow, and anyone living with you must respect as well. The following are some tips that will help you set some of those boundaries. Once you understand how important maintaining these boundaries is, you will be able to create some more personal ones. 

Set a comfortable dedicated workspacehome office

Home office. Source: PeopleImages/iStock 

It is paramount to create a comfortable and dedicated workspace if you are working from home. This space must be inspiring and tailored to your needs to spark productivity all day long. This is a place you really enjoy working from. Unlike a conventional office, which may be too impersonal and off-putting for some, your home workspace can be your sanctuary where you retreat for the day to emerge triumphant after advancing your daily tasks at the speed of lighting. Yes, that's the difference that a happy workspace makes. 

If possible, start by upgrading your chair and desk. Choose carefully prioritizing comfort but respecting your style. Go for ergonomics. Long days can have a negative impact on your spine and circulation if you do not pay attention to it.

Setting up your desk by a window, or in front of one can help relax your eyes during those few seconds you need to look away from your screen. 

Bringing some plants and flowers to your workspace is refreshing if you feel the need to balance the devices and cables that surround you with some life form, a reminder that you are not a robot in the room.  

Invest in a good pair of bluetooth headphones. Your video meetings are going to increase and you need good sound at both ends. This is also a way to keep your meetings private if you have family members around. Although, it is highly recommended that you always add a sign on the door saying you are working to avoid family members from interrupting your work or team meeting. Remember, the workspace has changed but you are still working. 

Your own home workspace now can be the best you have always imagined. 

Pay attention to ergonomicsstanding desk home office

Consider buying or creating a standing desk if this is something this could work for you. Source: AJ_Watt/iStock

Your working chair must be comfortable. If you have started working from home due to the Covid-19 pandemic, you may need to upgrade your desk chair to a more suitable one for working long hours. 

Paying attention to ergonomics is paramount. Your home office must be designed or adapted for efficiency and overall comfort in your working environment. This will eliminate discomfort and risk of injury, especially back or neck injury. 

It is important that you pay attention to ergonomics. When you are working you have to avoid getting your body stressed by an awkward posture, extreme temperature, or repeated movement that could negatively affect your musculoskeletal system. Consider buying or creating a standing desk if this is something that could work for you.

Follow these simple ergonomics tips to improve comfort and productivity:

  • Watch how you sit in front of your computer. Slouching is a bad habit that puts more pressure on the discs and vertebrae of your back. To correct this, use the lumbar support of your chair, avoiding sitting in a way that places your body weight more on one than on the other. Move your chair as close to your work as possible to avoid leaning and reaching out

  • Watch your head position; try to keep the weight of your head directly above its base of support, which is your neck. Do not crane your head and neck forward. When you make good posture a habit, it becomes natural 

  • Your monitor or laptop screen should be placed directly in front of you, with the top no higher than eye level. The keyboard should be directly in front of the monitor if you are using a desktop computer, so you do not have to frequently turn your head and neck to one side. This may be a little more difficult to achieve if you work with two, three, or more monitors. Try your best and be gentle to your neck

  • Avoid eye strain. Making sure that your monitor is not too close. Your monitor should be at least an arm’s length away

  • Take steps to control screen glare. Make sure that the monitor is not placed in front of a window, or a bright background. Using a black background rather than the usual while may help. You can change this from your settings

  • It is advisable to rest your eyes periodically for several seconds by looking at objects at a distance to give your eyes a break. This avoids eye strain. It helps if you can set your desk in front of a window; looking through the window for a couple of minutes helps your eyes tremendously. If your eyes get badly strained and they hurt you will be forced to stop working for at least a couple of days, get some prescription eye drops, and you will have to rest your eyes

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