Extension: Tips for Working From Home

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Many of us are going through many changes in the last weeks. For me, working at home is the biggest. It’s been interesting that I feel like I am accomplishing a lot more, but this is probably the “honeymoon phase” of this endeavor

As an extrovert, it is distressing to me that I don’t have one-on-one contact with my staff members or clients during the day, but close by are my dog, my cat, and my 16-year-old daughter. I am loving the time I’m spending with them, but we’re having to work to understand what is meant by working at home and we’re having to make a schedule and create boundaries, what with numerous Zoom meetings or conferences daily, online staff meetings. You get the picture.

As many of you are probably working at home too, I thought I’d share some information from an Extension publication I came across this week, “Coronavirus: Tips for Working from Home.”

So how should we begin our day? Here are some helpful tips:

1. Make a schedule. Make a schedule that is easy for you to adhere to. If your workday is normally 8-5, then don’t work past that, or get up at 6 and work until 8. You’ll get burned out fast. It can be easy to constantly work when you are at home, but you must maintain a balance between work and home life.

2. Start your day with prayer, meditation, or quiet time.
By starting your day with a time of prayer, meditation, or quiet time, you can begin work with a positive, relaxed attitude. There are many free apps out there that have great meditation videos, daily prayers and devotions and calming techniques. Some companies are even waiving their normal fees right now.

3. Eat a healthy breakfast. Even if you typically skip breakfast or eat on the fun, take time to fix a healthy breakfast to start your day. This will help you be more productive throughout the day. Don’t slip into the habit of cooking high fat, high calorie foods every day. While it may seem more difficult to find certain healthy foods, N.C. Cooperative Extension has some great resources to teach you how to prepare healthy foods at home.

4. Change into your work clothes. Putting on work clothes can help you feel better mentally and help you stay out of a mental rut.

What should your workspace look like?

5. Work near a window or near natural light. By working near a window and allowing natural light on your work space, you will be more productive and energetic. People tend to work better when they are happy and in a good mood.

6. Designate an office space. Choose a specific location in your home to be your work space. Set specific work hours and let your spouse and/or kids know the hours you are working and that you are not to be disturbed unless it is an emergency. If you are the only parent or adult at home with younger kids, think of ways to keep your kids engaged during your meeting times.

Throughout the Day…

7. Get as much sun as you can during the day. Sunlight provides vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin. Sunlight helps produce vitamin D, which is important to our overall health. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to depression and other maladies. Vitamin D helps lower high blood pressure, protects against inflammation, helps promote bone growth, and helps protect against different types of cancer and heart disease.

8. Physically leave your work space for a few minutes every hour. Get up and move around for a few minutes. It is not healthy to sit hours without getting up.

9. During your lunch break, step away from your desk or work area. Take time for your lunch break and leave all work-related items in your work space. Make sure to eat a healthy lunch that will not weigh you down for the rest of the day. If the weather is suitable, go outside to eat your lunch.

10. Take a couple of breaks throughout the day. Stepping away from work for about 15 minutes can recharge you and help you be more productive throughout the day.

11. Exercise – Incorporate exercise periodically in each day. Do this before you begin working, during your breaks, at lunch, or after work. Simple activities such as walking riding a bike, walking your dog or dancing to music count as exercise, make it enjoyable!

Here are some tips for the end of your workday:

12. Avoid working past your scheduled work hours. When working remotely at home, it can be easy for work to creep into our family life. You might find yourself working into the night hours and taking away from your family as well as your sleep time.

13. Change out of your work clothes when your workday ends. Changing out of your work clothes will help you shift your mindset from work mode to home mode.

14. Take time for yourself. Make sure to schedule time for yourself so you can take care of your well-being. It is important to take care of yourself so you will be able to care of others.

15. With kids at home, make the most of this time and help them find their balance as well. This time of uncertainty, of being quarantined, and of practicing social distancing can be hard for families. Make the most of it and help your kids find balance.