Working from Home for the First Time? Here Are 3 Tips to Help You Make the Transition

COVID-19 has more workers than ever working from home and, for some, it can be an especially challenging adjustment.

Kristen Hovet
Mar 16, 2020 · 4 min read
This employee is working from home, but she is doing two things wrong and one thing right. She’s dressed up for her work day but she’s sitting on her bed in a potentially uncomfortable position that could aggravate or cause back, shoulder, neck, and wrist pain. She should move to a desk and ensure an ergonomic set-up. | Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

re you working from home for the first time due to coronavirus (COVID-19) precautions? Here are some simple ways to make the transition easier. These tips might be especially useful in the event that you’ll be working from home indefinitely.

Working from home can get old very quickly, so these simple tips could make the whole process a little bit easier and a lot more comfortable:

1) Just say NO to working in pyjamas

Though the novelty of working in pyjamas for the first week or so might be nice, this is something you’ll need to reconsider very soon. Most people who have been working from home for a long time know the importance of doing something every single morning to mark the transition from home life to work life.

Start the day by following your normal routine as closely as possible—breakfast, coffee, reading the news, listening to a podcast, or whatever else you typically do.

Next, change out of your pyjamas! Put your hair back. Shave. Do anything to mark the transition to work time.

“Since working from home can often blur the lines between work life and non-work life, I remain disciplined and adhere to a routine, following the same beauty and fashion regime as if I were planning to hoof it into the city that day,” writes Amy Sciarretto for Bustle. “If I sat around in PJs all day, I would feel like a sloth with no delineation or demarcation between each facet of my life.”

We associate work clothes with action and motivation, and pyjamas or lounge clothes with relaxation and comfort. Try to keep these separate in simple ways.

Once your work day is done, slip back into your comfortable clothes or pyjamas. This simple action can help you switch gears from work mode to relaxation mode, and help switch off any anxiety-provoking work thoughts. If you’re self-isolating or in quarantine, this transition is even more crucial to your wellbeing.

Set up an uncluttered designated work space as far away from your bed as possible. This will help keep your desk associated with concentration and your bed associated with restfulness and sleep. | Photo by Norbert Levajsics on Unsplash

2) Don’t work in bed and if you can, work somewhere other than your bedroom

Due to lack of space, most people set up their work desks or tables in their bedrooms, but if you can, make as much space between your bed and work station as possible. Why?

Due to a process called classical conditioning—when two stimuli or phenomena are linked together to create a specific response—working from bed or even from the bedroom can result in a strong association in your brain between your bed or bedroom and being alert and concerned with work tasks. This association can lead to difficulty falling asleep once it’s time for bed.

While this conditioned response of your brain associating your bed/bedroom with wakefulness and work can take a while to develop, it’s best to avoid it altogether.

The solution? Have some kind of designated work space—as far away as possible from your bed—and work there every day. This will create an associate between your designated work space and concentration or focus.

This individual has an ergonomic workspace. Be like this person. | Photo from Wikimedia Commons

3) Ensure that your workspace is ergonomic

“Ergonomic” means that something is designed to promote comfort and efficiency in the work environment.

Most company offices are set up with ergonomics in mind to protect employees, but our workspaces at home are frequently overlooked.

If your workspace is set up with ergonomics in mind, this will prevent discomfort and injury, and will help maintain focus while working.

Common problems to watch out for:

  • A chair that is too high or too low in relation to the work surface (desk or table).
  • A desk or table that is too high or too low.
  • Monitor that is too close or too far away or too high or low.
  • Feet not touching the floor.
  • Sitting for too long without getting up to move or stretch.

While you may not have pain or discomfort now, not having an ergonomic workspace can lead to problems later on.

Here is one of the top YouTube videos on ergonomics that shows you how to set up your workspace:

I hope these tips have helped.

Please comment if you have any questions or suggestions for future articles.

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Kristen Hovet

Written by

North Dakota-born science writer in British Columbia. Research communications specialist. Founder of The Other Autism:

The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Follow to join The Startup’s +8 million monthly readers & +792K followers.

Kristen Hovet

Written by

North Dakota-born science writer in British Columbia. Research communications specialist. Founder of The Other Autism:

The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Follow to join The Startup’s +8 million monthly readers & +792K followers.

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