Workers in the post-COVID economy are faced with a number of challenges, most notably the ability to connect to the office and work from anywhere at any time.
Human capital management and wellness specialist consultancy Sensory Intelligence Consulting has compiled a list of practical steps that employees can take to establish a healthy and balanced work environment – wherever they find themselves.
Dr Annemarie Lombard, Founder, Thought Leader, Workshop Facilitator, and Author at Sensory Intelligence Consulting, says, “The power of technology and connectedness has never been more prominent than now.
“As a team, we have always worked virtual and support a flexible, home working approach for employee productivity and wellbeing. In the sensory overloaded world we operate in, flexible remote working practices have saved many of our clients from the brink of burnout in the past.”
Ensure your Work Environment is Comfortable and Conducive to Productivity
Dr Lombard advises to set up a ‘home office’ environment – a delegated space that is specifically set aside for work. She says that the work environment should firstly be comfortable and conducive and that using a desk or chair will ensure better productivity. Working on a bed or couch for long hours will not be conducive and can place unnecessary strain on your back, wrists and/or other body parts. Having a home office space also ensure that there is no clutter, mess, that the space is clean, tidy and comfortable.
Ensure that You have Reliable Connectivity
Stable Wi-Fi and good online systems are critical. It will ensure smooth and easy connections. There is a variety of systems to meet, chat, collaborate and act. Sensory Intelligence Consulting, uses G-suite, Zoom, Trello, WhatsApp and Slack but there are various options.
“It is just amazing how connected you can be without being in the same physical space as others. Just ensure you agree on standard operating procedures when using the systems to avoid duplications, irritations or uncertainty when you work in a team,” says Dr Lombard.
She adds that its equally important to establish a distraction-free environment. To help you stay focused, she recommends eliminating any background noises while working or on a call.
Turning off your music and ensuring the dog is kept outdoors is also recommended. Your audience may not welcome the presence of noisy toddlers. It’s advisable to deactivate sound alerts on your phone or computer, as they can prove quite irritating for your team or audience. Please remember to mute your microphone when you cannot control background noise or when you’re not speaking at that moment.
Ensure Your Work Space is Well-Lit
Dr Lombard says effective lighting is often overlooked and although it may seem inconsequential, it is actually an extremely important step.
Using as much natural lighting as possible as it boosts productivity more than artificial lighting. Open your blinds or curtains to allow for more light but not to the detriment of glare. The potential is to change your desk position to allow for more natural light this way. Play around with options. If you develop eye strain or headaches relook your lighting sources.
Closely linked to this is the need to move and take regular but short breaks. “In the same way you need to stretch your legs, take a break and ‘recharge the batteries’, you need to give your mind the same ‘time-out’. There is an important psychological factor at play here – whether you are at home, at an internet hotspot in town or at the office, being dressed for work and presenting yourself as if you are at work and professionally will help focus and ensure productivity.”
“Your body and attire will prepare your mind for focused work. The unsaid and unseen have great power in our output and attitude,” Dr Lombard continues.
In conclusion, Dr Lombard and her colleagues stress that self-awareness and self-insight into your natural rhythms and working style will take your home working productivity to the next level.