Working from home during the latest lockdown?
It appears the current lockdown will remain in place for at a minimum, several more weeks. While we transition into working from home during lockdown we have to re-learn what that means. Most of us had started enjoying a sense of normality with our working lives, with fewer restrictions and words like, “lockdown”, sinking into the back of our collective memories, like a bad dream we were trying to forget. We were turning off our video feeds to go back out and meet people in person and enjoying networking opportunities with colleagues and customers. But here we are again….
Here are our essential tips for this continued lockdown period.
Transitioning back to working from home
While some might find the transition to working from home has been smooth during the past few weeks, others might take a bit longer to get back into the ‘working from home mode’. Some might have cleared away their workstations or used these workstations as temporary storage facilities.
Keeping your focus during lockdown can be difficult, especially if you have distractions like adorable pets or kids running around fighting for your attention. Or if you just suddenly remembered that cabinet you were supposed to deep clean last lockdown, but never got around to doing…
There are several things you can do to get back into the groove of working from home. Some of you might be working from home professionals by now, having kept your home office set up, While others might have locked that door and thrown away the key.
Setting up a dedicated workstation
As comfortable as it is working from your bed or couch, setting up a workstation is key for productivity, even if it is only for the short amount of time we are in this lockdown. Working from your bed will decrease your productivity and worse, the quality of your sleep will deteriorate. Avoiding working from areas of your home used for relaxation also separates your home life from your work life, making it easier for you to switch off when you need to step away from work. If you can, set it up in a separate dedicated room with lots of natural light. We also recommend communicating clear expectations to anyone who will be home with you, to minimize any potentially unnecessary distractions throughout the day.
Posture and ergonomics
Now that you have your desk set up and a steaming cup of coffee in your hand your next order of business is posture. As all of us in the startup industry are prone to working long hours in front of a computer screen so it's important to take some ergonomic measurements so you don’t come out of lockdown needing a walking stick. The correct posture is essential! So setting up your workstation so that you are seated correctly at all times is going to help with keeping your back feeling fresh post lockdown. Follow the NHS’s advice on how to sit at your desk properly.
Adjust your chair so it supports your back, your knees should be slightly lower than your hips.
Adjust your chair so you can use the keyboard without getting wrist pain, make sure you adjust it so your wrist and elbows are level with the floor.
Rest your feet flat on the floor. Now this one might seem obvious, but we find ourselves forgetting to do this, and using anything in the vicinity as a handy footrest.
Have your screen at eye level. In our offices, our members often use our handy printing paper blocks to prop up their screens or laptop, but books will work just as well.
Keep your keyboard straight in front of you.
And most importantly, take breaks! We know how easy it is to become stationary on a long workday. Go for that walk, walk to your fridge for a snack, stand up and give yourself a stretch, anything to get some movement and a break from the screen.
Hydration is key
This one is a given, but we always seem to forget to do it, so a little reminder will not hurt. Fill up your bottle first thing in the morning and place it next to your screen so you won’t forget to consume it throughout the day. If you are someone that still forgets to take regular sips of your water even when you do all of the necessary due diligence, we recommend getting a water bottle where you can note consumption. That way you can easily set yourself time consumption milestones throughout the day. If you are still struggling to drink enough water then setting reminders on your phone or calendar will give you that additional prompt to hydrate.
How to avoid boredom when working in isolation
To avoid getting bored in lockdown as it can be very lonely when isolated at home, and you are missing the daily interactions with your fellow Tank Stream Labs members. Try to keep yourself entertained, maintain interaction with your co-workers through digital channels or phone calls. Try to discuss topics outside of work. We know how easy it is to be stuck in work mode all day, but after all one of the most depressing parts about isolation is not seeing coworkers for that coffee catch up. So make sure to keep that casual contact with your team, after all, they are probably feeling the same way as you.
If you require some motivation to stay active and in touch with your co-workers or community members we suggest getting an accountability buddy. That way you can schedule regular check in’s, cheer each other on, and encourage each other to reach your goals.
Working from home does not mean that your weekly networking or gym sessions have to end, take advantage of the numerous events and community initiatives that have been shifted online during the lockdown. Here at Tank Stream Labs, we have weekly activity competitions, wellness initiatives, education projects and talks by experts to our members during this lockdown period.
So now that your desk setup is complete, your posture is correct and you are adequately hydrated, it’s time to think of ways to prepare yourself for going back to work after the lockdown ends. The disruption of going back to work can feel daunting now that you are just getting settled into working from home. You have become used to this environment and it will likely change in the near future. We would recommend that you:
Keep your normal routine
...Just because you are in lockdown now does not mean that all the good habits from working in the office should go out the window and you stay in your pj’s all day. One of the biggest factors when returning to the office will be the feeling of tiredness when you have to get up earlier than you have during the last few weeks as you have to factor in travel time. We recommend that you get your work clothes ready the night before and wake up at the same time you would normally when working in the office. Even better, start the day with exercise to replace travel time. Follow your normal healthy routine with a consistent sleep schedule and timely meals, don’t get into bad habits just because Netflix is calling and the fridge is loaded with treats. Trust us, it will make returning to the office far easier.
The most important part of working from home is to take care of yourself both physically and mentally. If you are being impacted by the lockdown you should reach out to your boss, work colleague, friend or family member if you feel uncomfortable. Also, it is important to look out for your colleagues and make sure they are all keeping well. We encourage you to have regular check-ins as teams and individuals.
Keep an eye out for our upcoming blogs to keep you entertained while we work from home.