Today is Labor Day and we are still in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. In March, when the pandemic hit full force, our biggest concern was it lasting until Memorial Day…but surprise! Summer has come and gone and the pandemic is still here.
Like most people, I started working from home in March with this idea that we would be back in the office by mid-April or no later than May. It is now September and just like everyone else, my place of employment has no set date of when we will return to working in person. Many companies have announced they will not be returning to in-person business until January 2021. Some companies have said as late as June 2021.
With the duration of working from home being extended for so long, how does one adapt to working and living in the same space day in and day out? I’m being completely honest when I say that working from home has become extremely difficult for my mental health and I knew that if this process was going to be prolonged, I had to make some changes.
Here are some tips on how to create a productive and accessible workspace when working from home:
Find a Designated Workspace
Find a space in your home that is simply designated for working. You need a space where work is work and home is home. I cannot stress this one enough: at the beginning of the pandemic, and until recently, I was working in my bedroom. This lack of a designated workspace was the number one reason for the decline in my mental health. I spent eight hours a day in my bedroom working and then another 8-12 hours in my room sleeping or relaxing. Spending so much time in one space causes difficulties for our brain to create the division between work and home, thus triggering abnormal amounts of stress.
Make Your Workspace Accessible to Your Needs
To be fully productive, one must be able to be completely comfortable and able to access everything they need to get work done. When working in my bedroom, I noticed my back and shoulders were hurting more than normal. The desk I keep in my bedroom that acts as a vanity/office is a fixed-height desl that requires me to hunch over to do things. I recently invested in an elevating desk for my new workspace. This desk allows me to change the height throughout the day and give me the freedom to move about as I wish. if I want to sit at iLevel or tilt to relieve back pressure, I have the ability to do so. it is hard to focus on what needs to be done when accessibility and limitations are in the way.
Get a Change of Scenery and Move Any Way Possible
If you’re anything like me, when you get to work on something you get in the zone and time just flies by. It is important that even though you are in the zone, it is best to take breaks throughout the day and change scenery. I know from personal experience that sometimes, that is easier said than done. A change of scenery could be something as simple as staring out at a window for several minutes or raising your seat and desk at iLevel to give you a different perspective.
The idea of working from home was exciting at first, but now we have to make sure we’re doing things to take care of ourselves and create a new healthy work and life balance. Just remember do your best, take a breath and take it one day at a time.
About Isabella Bullock: Isabella, or Izzy for short, is an employment specialist for the Center of Independent Living. She is an iced coffee enthusiast who enjoys getting lost in a good book. Click here to learn more about Isabella.