Work in the time of coronavirus – how to be productive in home office
The state of emergency and the nationwide quarantine which the Czech government declared in recent days has forced many companies to introduce work from home across the board. While some companies regularly offer home office to their employees
as a benefit, for others it is a whole new situation. Whether you’re an employer or an employee, here are some helpful tips for working from home.
Does “home office” make you think of eight hours spent on the couch or in bed with a computer on your lap?
If yes, you will soon have not only health problems but also very low productivity. You should maintain the correct seating position not only in the office, but also at home, if possible.
Your work chair should have a height-adjustable backrest that should touch the shoulders. The lumbar support should also be height-adjustable and support the natural curvature of the spine when properly positioned. Keep your elbows and forearms all the way down
to support your arms and shoulders while working on the keyboard. A balloon placed between your back and the backrest or a balancing mat will also help with the right seating. Your feet should be placed squarely on the ground or better yet on a raised surface, such as a box. Don’t even think about sitting with one leg crossed over the other.
The working environment is also very important. Find your favourite corner where you will have relative peace and quiet, plenty of space, fresh air and ideally natural light. A pleasant atmosphere promotes productivity and positively affects mood. Regularly ventilate to get fresh air and try to cut off any ambient noise.
Routine is key to success
When working from home you should copy your normal office routine as much as possible. If your working hours start at eight in the morning, it is not advisable to get up 15 minutes before and sit in your pyjamas behind the computer. Instead, allow yourself enough time for morning rituals, including breakfast. And don’t underestimate the importance of appropriate clothes. Pyjamas can be comfortable, but if you dress like you’re planning to head out, you will unconsciously be better prepared for work.
Keep breaks for lunch or snacks, giving you time for valuable rest. In addition, a regular schedule helps the proper functioning of our internal biological clock, which also affects digestion and sleep quality. Once you have succeeded in adhering to a routine, you will find that your work duties do not extend late into the evening. If your work and tasks allow, stop at a regular time and don’t answer emails
at night or before bedtime.
In the office, you can take regular breaks for coffee, lunch, snacks or a short walk. And that’s good! Continue to establish a routine while working from home – better rested you will be more efficient and happier. A recent study by scientists in Japan, for example, demonstrated that relaxing in the presence of greenery has a positive impact on employee psyche. A few minutes of rest can be used for a short walk with your dog (of course with your facemask on) or yoga. Movement benefits the body and refreshes the mind. And who knows, maybe you will come back to your desk with a brand new idea or improvement that you hadn’t thought of before.
Working from home is all about trust and reliability
Working from home depends on mutual trust between the employer and the employee. If you are an employer and are worried about whether employees are spending time effectively, give them tasks and deadlines, just as you would in the office. It is clear that working from home
is more difficult to control than when a person is sitting
in the office next to their supervisor. On the other hand, in the era of advanced information technology, there are
a number of applications that can be used to assign tasks, change them or monitor their performance.
Monitoring the performance of tasks
Useful applications include Trello, which creates task boards. These can be moved around differently depending on the stage of the task. You can also assign users, deadlines and related files to a task. Another useful online tool is MindMeister, which helps with brainstorming and mind map creation. The application can be used even without an internet connection and for multiple people at once. Users can create and share their thoughts, comment on and add other documents, images or videos, as well as external links. The mind maps can then be transformed into an interactive presentation.
Communication with colleagues
Communication is absolutely crucial to effective teleworking. Moreover, regular socialization is extremely important for people working from home. Try to connect with your colleagues at least once a day and discuss what’s new with them. Regular weekly meetings can be handled with video conferencing; all you need is
a laptop with a camera and a built-in microphone or a headset. For example, you can use Skype or Google Meet.
Another option is Microsoft Teams, which serves as a chat, video conferencing and data storage tool. No less popular in recent years
is Slack. In this simple and clear environment, you can not only chat and phone with colleagues, but also send documents and comment on them. Chats focused on specific projects and tasks can includes dozens of people or just two. In addition, it can connect to other cloud services, such as Google Drive.
Time for yourself
Home office saves time that you would otherwise spend in your car or public transport. So use it for activities that you normally don’t have time for, whether it’s a long breakfast, reading a book, learning something or exercising. Share work calendars with colleagues so everyone can see when you are available, what tasks are ahead and when you are no longer working.