When your home unexpectedly becomes your daily 9 to 5 office, it’s important to take the time to assess your space. During a lockdown like the current COVID-19 pandemic, we need to ensure that the environment we’re in almost 24 hours a day, seven days a week is both supportive and productive.
Here are some helpful tips to consider so we can work better when at home.
If you’ve set up a home office, it’s beneficial to conduct a working from home checklist to ensure that your work environment is safe and comfortable.
You can access a working from home checklist on the Comcare website (the national authority for work health and safety, and workers’ compensation).
Here are some points to think about:
• Consider whether you can bring something into your environment to help you during this time of more restricted community movement (e.g. books, office, equipment or a pot plant).
• Discuss with your supervisor whether it’s practical to take your work screen or chair home. Or seek professional financial advice on how you might be able to claim tax deductions.
• Be aware of your sounds, tastes, fragrance, visual surroundings and how these make you feel comfortable and engaged.
Be mindful that in Australia, the Work Health and Safety (WHS) requirements still apply for those who are required to work remotely. This includes working from home.
Your daily routine
Maintaining a balanced lifestyle is equally important when working from home. This kind of flexibility can allow opportunities to create healthy habits. They include regular physical exercise, nourishing your body with good food, drinking plenty of water and making sure you are sleeping well. Even dressing for work can help you ‘get in the zone’ and will be more presentable when meeting with your colleagues over video calls.
Comcare offers some practical tips to help implement some of these healthy habits into your daily routine.
Also remember that taking some time out from work should be part of your daily routine too. This includes:
• Taking regular short breaks (e.g. 5 minutes after a 25 minute-stint then 30 minutes after 4 stints) helps your productivity over the course of the day. Try simply walking around the block.
• At the end of the day, pack your computer away and ensure you have enough rest and sleep to energise you for tomorrow.
Consider other ways to be more productive and efficient with the time you save travelling to and from work:
• Update your skills with a range of free online TAFE courses.
• Research online training that may be available on topics discussed in previous meetings with your manager.
• Explore whether any formal or informal e-coaching or e-mentoring is possible during this time – ask your manager, then approach someone you would like to mentor or have as a mentor.
You’re not alone
There’s always help available. So, don’t hesitate to reach out if you need support when dealing with difficult situations. Stay connected virtually with friends and family, while also making time to look after yourself.
You can find regularly updated COVID-19 information and further resources on the Wesley Mission website.
If you need to talk to someone right now, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.