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Thursday, 7 May 2020

Working from Home & Digital Wellness.

Location: Home Office 
I would like to start off by wishing you all the very best during these uncertain times.... During these unprecedented conditions which we have been faced with, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we may have to start embracing an entirely new normal. The emergence of this new precarious virus has actually forced businesses and employees to adopt a new way of team collaboration and effective remote working, as most can attest. Although I had personally enjoyed the benefit of working from home twice a week prior to the nationwide lockdown, which gave me  a great work life balance, the mandatory 5-day work from home order has presented some fresh challenges especially as it is a drastic change to normal routine. Over the 6-week period of the lockdown, I have gradually gotten used to the new system or work and life. I have put together a few tips that has helped me to cope, stay effective and practice digital wellness whilst working from home.

Firstly, ergonomics at the home office is essential in maintaining a good posture and general well being. The last thing anyone needs is to have a lasting back pain when this gloomy period is over.  Although not everyone has a dedicated space that can be set up easily with standard IT equipment, a few things to consider when trying to optimise your work space, posture and improve your wellness when working from home is to ensure that:

  • The laptop/monitor  is the level of the eye height or use some coffee table books to raise the laptop.
  • Sit in an adjustable chair, fold a blanket/throw for extra lower back support and if the chair is too low, sit on a pillow or cushion to raise your seat height.
  • Micro-breaks away from the laptop is so important, think about when your at work, you get up every now and again to your colleagues desk for a chat or to the staff kitchen or to a meeting room or to take a phone call, the list is endless. That should be applied when at home as well. For me, I like to play hide and seek with my toddlers for 5mins, do some recycling and generally keep active by not staying in the same position for extended periods.

Secondly, make effort to maintain your usual morning routine. I find that it helps with preparing the mindset for actual work and increases motivation. For me, I had to set my alarm not as early as my usual 5am but to 7am. Once I am up, I start my day as per usual; with a shower, make up, then I dress like I would if I were physically present at the office. Thereafter, I commute to the kitchen to make myself a cup of tea like I would in the office.  I make a conscious effort not to be tempted to remain in my pyjamas, as I need to look presentable for the daily video conference huddles.

Thirdly, establish boundaries during the work day and do not put too much pressure, on yourself. You have to make a conscious effort not to beat yourself up when it gets close to end of day and there are still some outstanding tasks. Resist the temptation to stay up late at night to complete tasks; rather have a good night rest (7 hours minimum) so you can wake up fully refreshed for the new day which presents fresh ideas and promise. Even when you are in a situation where not all your teammates are based in the same region and you have to accommodate different timezones, ensure this is done in a sensible manner, such that you do not deprive yourself of valuable rest time.

I hope you find the above tips as useful and beneficial as I have in ensuring your home working during the lockdown is to an optimal level. Applying these steps have aided effective management of my work load and family life, whilst maintaining all round digital wellness.

Please share your own tips in the comments below on what has been your coping mechanism over the period.

I hope everyone continues to stay safe. Remember to wash your hands regularly, use hand sanitisers frequently, maintain social distancing and only embarking on essential travels. I know we can beat this pandemic, as the human race is more than capable of coping with such tough and challenging times.

My intention is to provide as much content as I am able to in the coming weeks/months. You all stay safe and take time to appreciate the little things around you.


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