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Is your desk set up correctly, and are you getting up to move enough? Let this handy guide help you and your employees achieve the best WFH setting you possibly can.

In one way or another, a majority of us can say we have experienced the true essence of 'working from home' in the past year. From the simple joys of waking up a little later than usual and working in comfier wear, to the frustrations of Internet connectivity and not being able to 'switch off' your work mode - we've been there.

And with the flexibility to work-from-home, or remote working, here for the long-run, how can we make the most of it to ensure that at the end of it all, we continue to be (or we become more) productive while, most importantly, keeping healthy?

Human Resources Online has pulled out a few tips and tricks to help you and your employees do so, courtesy of Cotswold Company's Working from home: A guide to creating a healthy and productive workspace at home.

#1 Ensure a good desk setup

Are you sitting correctly? Are you slouching without realising? It's easy to think we're sitting and positioning ourselves and our computers the right way, but we may be affecting other parts of our bodies without realising.

To ensure you are well-positioned to work at your desk, take note of the following:

Adjust your chair

The best chairs for working are adjustable, so that you can move the height allowing you to use your keyboard properly. This is with your wrists and forearms straight and parallel with the floor. Your elbows sit rest by the side of your body, with a 90 degree angle at the elbow joint.

Support your back

You should also be able to adjust your chair so that it supports your lower back. You can do this by changing the back position and tilt options.

Your knees should be slightly lower than your hips.

Have your screen at eye level

If a screen is too high or low, you’ll be bending your neck all day. Instead, your screen should be directly in front of you (roughly an arm’s length away). If you use a laptop, you can place it on a laptop stand and use a separate keyboard to achieve this.

Have the keyboard straight in front of you

When typing, you want the keyboard to be right in front of you, making sure your arms are still bent in an L-shape with your elbows at your side. You can leave a gap of around four to six inches (about 10-16cm) at the front of your desk to rest your wrists when you’re not typing. Some people use wrist rests for extra comfort.

Rest your feet on the floor

Your feet should be flat on the floor, and not crossed. Some people also use a footrest if that feels comfortable. 

Avoid screen glare

Position the monitor away from reflections or pull blinds across the window.

Make frequently used objects easy to reach

This includes your mouse.

Avoid phone strain

Use a headset if you spend a lot of time on calls.

A very important thing that many of us tend to forget when we get too absorbed in our work is to move - and that can be detrimental to our health. It has, in fact, been scientifically proven that we should get up and move roughly every 30 minutes - whether it is for a washroom break, to refill your water bottle, or simply to stretch and walk around your house.

What helps, if you can't consciously remember to do so, is to set an alarm on your phone.  

You could also consider walking meetings if you just need to be on the phone and can do it without looking at your desktop or laptop.

#2 Create a routine, and be conscious of it 

Creating a routine that works for you is just as important when you work from home – perhaps even more vital when compared to an office environment. It’s all too tempting to wake up and turn your laptop on without showering or even having breakfast. But one thing to note here is - by doing so, you've barely given your body and mind the time to switch on and prepare for the day ahead. 

While different people work best at different times and flexible working patterns often allow employees to suit hours that work for them, it is still important to maintain a routine.

Just like how travelling to office or having lunch in the pantry naturally creates a routine, having a structured day at home can also help with that. Some ways you can do so include:

  • Establishing times for when you start and finish the working day.
  • Getting ready for the start of your day in the same way you would if you were going to the office – have a shower, get dressed, have breakfast and so on.
  • Including a lunch break in your schedule and making sure you spend it away from your work area.
  • Setting yourself goals or tasks to complete each day.
  • When you are finished with the day, tidy away your work things or close the door to your working area.
  • Taking some time outside, perhaps going for a walk at the end of the day.
  • Importantly, do not be tempted to pick up your laptop or turn on your computer after you’ve finished for the day (turning off notifications on your phone can help).

To make a good routine stick, do make it a point to let your team and your colleagues know when they can expect a response, and when you’re unavailable to speak. When you’re working from home, you need to make these timings clear. 

Being constantly ‘available’ to contact is one of the main causes of stress for home workers. It can definitely blur the lines between home and work life. Where you can establish and stick to a routine, it can help set expectations for communications and allow you to create distance between when you are at work and when you are at home.

ALSO READ: The role of people managers in ending the ‘always-on’ culture

#3 Prioritise your to-do list

When faced with a long to-do list, take some time out to plan out how you want to tackle it, in order to maximise productivity. Perhaps following the four 4Ds will help depending on the importance of each task, namely, Do, Defer, Delegate, and Delete.

Read the full guide here.

ALSO READ: 10 most attractive cities for remote workers: Melbourne takes first place


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