The COVID-19 pandemic has rattled the world as the novel coronavirus spreads like wildfire. Markets have hit record lows since the 2008 recession. Entire cities have been quarantined, whole countries on lockdown. And companies have taken proactive measures to flatter the curve—that is, to reduce the infection rate and prevent a spike in sick patients from overwhelming the healthcare system. For many employees, that means working remotely.
Working from home might be a little daunting without the structure and support you’re used to in your normal work environment. Here are some tips to keep you on track and healthy:
1.) Use a designated space for working
Chances are, you’re not going to be very productive on the couch. The television is too tempting a distraction, and while you should still be comfortable, you don’t want to doze off partway through that boring report you have to finish before the end of the day.
Set up a desk with all your necessary office supplies. If you don’t have a desk, clear off the dining room table so you can work on a flat surface while sitting erect in a chair. This will help you stay focused. It’s important to identify your spaces for work and pleasure.
2.) Take breaks and lunch away from your workspace.
Once you’ve designated your spaces, try to keep them separated. You should do your best to maintain a consistent routine, just like you would in the office. That means stepping away from your work to take scheduled breaks. You can’t truly unplug if you’re still sitting in front of your laptop; changing environments can help train your brain to enter and pause “work mode” at home and provide a healthier work-life balance.
3.) Set ground rules with people who share your space.
If you have kids home from school and/or a spouse or family members who are sharing your space, it’s important to establish boundaries and schedules. Your coworkers already knew the standards for work, but your family will need to learn that interruptions aren’t acceptable when you’re trying to get in the zone and focus. Having this conversation early in the transition will prevent a lot of frustration later if your expectations have already been established.
4.) Protect your eyes from digital eye strain.
Harmful high-energy visible (HEV) blue light emitted from digital screens is just as serious in a home office as it is in a corporate one. If you’re noticing symptoms such as dry eyes, blurry vision, reoccurring headaches, fatigue, and difficulty falling asleep at night, you are likely suffering from digital eye strain.
Be sure to employ the 20-20-20 rule throughout the day—every twenty minutes, look away from your computer and focus on an object at least twenty feet away for twenty seconds. This gives your eyes a much-needed break and allows them to relax after staring at a computer screen. If you need to set an alarm to remember, do so.
Another great way to protect your eyes is investing in blue light glasses. Peepers Focus™ lenses filter 40% or more of the HEV light with extra features such as an anti-reflective coating, scratch-resistant coating, and UV400 protection. With a wide variety of styles to choose from, with or without magnification, it’s easy to find the perfect pair to complement your features and give your eyes the extra protection they deserve. Keep in mind that blue light glasses alone are only a partial solution; you still want to take regular breaks from screen time. Your eyes will thank you!
5.) Leave the house when you can.
That’s easier said than done during these uncertain times, but you don’t have to go to a public place. Weather permitting, take a walk around the block during one of your breaks. Eat your lunch on the porch. Pull some weeds in the garden. A change of scenery will be refreshing so you aren’t cooped up in the house all day every day, and sunshine and fresh air can have a positive effect on your mood.
Employing these guidelines will help you keep your productivity on track while maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Stay safe, and stay healthy.