Home office in times of Corona - how to make the temporary change to working from home
Mar. 19 2020
The current pandemic of the novel COVID-19 virus is turning social life upside down worldwide. Many employers have now made home office compulsory for their employees; others are at least offering the option of working from home to protect health and provide childcare.
But how do you stay healthy and motivated when working at home? Whether you're a newcomer to the home office or a long-time professional, our tips for improving health at home can help you prioritize your health while being efficient and productive.
HOW DO I DESIGN MY HOME OFFICE ERGONOMICALLY CORRECT?
Whether in the office or at home: when it comes to staying healthy and mobile, the right set-up of your workplace is essential.
For optimum posture, your feet should be flat on the floor and your eyes should be at about the same height as the top of the screen when sitting upright. Your thighs should be parallel to the floor or point slightly downwards. Adjust the seat height of your chair to this position.
Your arms form a right angle at best or point minimally downwards, but never upwards. An unfavourable arm position quickly leads to tension in the shoulder area, which can stretch across the neck and into the head - a guarantee for the classic tension headache. Ideally, your desk should have a pull-out keyboard shelf to make positioning easier, otherwise computer stands on wheels can also help for little money.
Have you found the right sitting position? As a crosscheck, it's a good idea to stretch out one arm horizontally - if your hand is now at about the middle of the screen, you've done everything right.
By the way: if an ergonomically "healthy" sitting position is consistently maintained, you will be perfectly prepared for working on your laptop as well as for using your stationary PC!
MENTAL HEALTH - HOW TO KEEP YOUR SPIRITS UP
In the home office the separation of professional and private life is a real challenge. Soon your own couch is no longer just a place to relax, but also a workplace and conference room. This is something you should avoid: in a study conducted by Cambridge University Press, a large proportion of respondents said that working from home promotes conflicts within the family and leads to psychological and physical stress if there is no separate study room available.1
Ideally, you will have a complete room at home to work in. If this is not the case, setting up a "Working Corner" can be an alternative: dividing shelves or screens can be used to quickly and easily create a personal working area in the kitchen or living room, keeping business and private space apart. Whatever the specific design of your home office may be - make sure that there is sufficient light in any case! A desk placed at right angles to the window provides sufficient daylight and helps to maintain a healthy day-night rhythm. If it is confused, stress, sleep disturbances, depression and other signs of illness can be the result.
The right timing is also important: consciously create periods of time within your working day that replace the daily walk to the canteen or the morning conversation with your favourite colleague. A lunch break is just as essential within your own four walls as in the office, and contact with colleagues should not be neglected: scheduled Skype and telephone meetings are a good alternative here.
Do you need more information about health at work? Feel free to contact us or take a look at our HSE services