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At Mfalme MB, we recognize that the spread of coronavirus may be unsettling for many of our team members, customers and partners around the world. Among the measures we’ve implemented is encouraging our team to work virtually to stay connected to customers and colleagues. In these challenging times, here are six tips from our employees for maintaining sound health, contentment and productivity while working from home.

1. Have a comfortable and healthy workspace setup

When working outside the office, basic health and safety measures that we are accustomed to can fall by the wayside. To ease eye strain, minimize glare on your laptop and make sure you have good lighting. Sit at a proper distance from your screen, about an arm’s distance. Ideally, you should position your computer screen so windows are to the side instead of in front or behind.

Most computer users find that their eyes feel better if they avoid working under overhead fluorescent lights. If possible, turn off any overhead fluorescent light

and use floor lamps that provide indirect soft white LED lighting instead. Also, ensure that your chair is in a comfortable, upright position for you.
Also, ensure that your chair is in a comfortable, upright position for you.
Developing Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) or back pain is the last thing you want to happen during this period. Make sure you have all the preventative measures covered. Even if you do not have an office chair, you can adjust your seating position. Place a cushion, a rolled-up jumper or blanket behind you to bring you forward in your seat to create a good posture. These considerations are often overlooked when working from home.

2. Make time for yourself before your work start time

Do you usually commute to work by walking, biking, train, bus or car? Why not set aside the time you’d normally spend commuting on self-development?

There are a couple of options to consider for your “me” time during this work-at-home period. Exercise is good for mental health and for maintaining a “can-do” attitude. You could also spend time focusing on a hobby or expanding your knowledge in your field of work.

Without injecting some creativity into how you self-isolate or work from home, work-life can become challenging. Through personal development time, you can maintain good mental health and wellbeing whilst also unlocking new potential.

3. Find a dedicated workspace in your home

While the idea of working from your bed or sofa may seem appealing, it is far from ideal. If you opt to work from either of these places, you may find that you are unable to separate work from leisure. There is also a risk that working in these places may result in thinking about work when you need to relax. What’s more, having your laptop on your lap while you work for a long period may sound easy, but it can cause strain in the long run.

To guarantee work-life separation, set up a desk or table to work from, and only sit there during your working hours. Take intermittent breaks, and when the end of the day arrives, walk away from your laptop and do not check your emails from any of your chill-out areas at home. By working in any designated relaxation zone, you may inflict unnecessary work pressures on yourself. This may impact your mental health and well-being, which could potentially cause anxiety, stress and lack of sleep.

4. Dress comfortably – but for work

When in the comfort of your home, don’t give in to the temptation of rolling out of bed and working in your nightwear. Don’t give your brain the wrong signals. Although working from home is convenient, try not to change your daily work routine. Set boundaries to ensure work-life balance whilst putting your brain in gear. Be ready for noticeable productivity, and seize the workday.

5. Take regular short breaks

If you are working on a lengthy task, take regular breaks to stretch your legs. Being super productive for a long period is difficult, so make sure you take short, regular breaks to re-energize. Breathe, grab a cup of tea, go for a short walk or do something else relaxing and not work-related, and your brain will thank you for it later.

One simple method to enhance productivity is the Pomodoro Technique. Developed by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s, the technique uses a 25-minute timer to divide the day. After each 25-minute stint, you get a short break.

Any breaks you take should be away from your work desk at home. So whether you are making a cup of tea or reading a newspaper, the aim is to take an intermission from work.

6. Communicate

It’s safe to say that even when in an office, effective team communication for some is the hardest thing to achieve. When you maintain a distance from others for a long time, it’s especially important to find a way to touch base with colleagues. So schedule work-related phone calls and video conferences. Online platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Skype are handy for maintaining a line of communication. 

In addition to using these platforms for work meetings, we are scheduling virtual coffee breaks and happy hours at Elsevier, bringing together our colleagues from around the world.

Outside of work hours, it is also important to communicate with your friends and family, particularly if self-isolation is in progress.

What are your best tips for working from home?

Hopefully, these tips are useful to you. My colleagues and I would love to hear from those of you working remotely on how you are adjusting and what you’re doing to maintain wellness and productivity.

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