Open for business – Remote home working, and self-care

This weekend I decided to rearrange my home office space so that it looks and feels as good as, if not better than being “at work”. However, I don’t think anything can replace the atmosphere, banter, and general feeling of being with people and belonging to a dynamic team.

Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype and similar platforms are great for meetings and generally checking on friends and family, but don’t go the distance for me in terms of making me feel wanted, but it’s all we have in lockdown so roll on vaccine!.

To my knowledge nobody has launched artificial intelligence hug-o-vision yet (a crazy invention idea I just had like many a day), where perhaps a squeeze of a mouse will give us all the feel of a real hug wrapped around us. I’m hoping this type of technology is out there somewhere, perhaps in the form of home huggable robots who feel as soft as bears! If anyone wants to talk about such geeky (guilty as charged) inventions, and needs a crash test guinea pig please get in touch!

Planning A REMOTE working OFFICE space

In planning my new office space I did lots of research, and found a ton of great advice on everything from ergonomics to buying the right equipment. This article by Runtastic, an Adidas owned company, reminded me of the importance of good posture. I had a strict typing teacher at school and a piano teacher as an adult, constantly nagging me with “don’t slouch, sit up straight!”. It did help me become a model and actress so I have never forgotten this great advice and early training.

Speaking to your employer about the set-up you have at home to work remotely with any support you might need, plus taking regular breaks to walk and get some fresh air in the absence of a traditional lunch break is vital. I found that when I was working at home during my last employed contract I would act like the famous detective Columbo, saying to myself “just one more thing”, as I sat at my desk for over 6 hours without a proper break. A former mentor once gave me an egg timer to put on my desk to ensure I had proper breaks. It still sits on my desk unused, so I still need to play that back and take better care of myself, and so do you.

HOME OFFICE EquiPment

I decided the equipment I would need should at least match what I was used to in an office as an employee and also keep me as flexible as I can for my freelance digital marketing work. I already have a high performance PC in another room that I use with my music recording studio equipment, but I wanted to adapt my laptop for fixed office working, external meetings and travel.

Having a separate large screen PC monitor was important to me, and I’m used to two screens, particularly for graphic design work and side-by-side multi-tasking. This is what I came up with (thanks Amazon), there are many options and suppliers out there who have equally considered remote working customers:

Next, I decided to split my lounge into two areas; a work space and breakout meeting room (aka my general living space. I wanted the feeling of being at work, which you don’t get in a bedroom or even by sitting on a comfortable couch using a laptop with a laptop desk tray.

Laptops are not recommended for working on for more than two hours a day, so I decided to set mine up on a stand at the same height as my main Dell 24″ monitor. According to Spine Health “When you work on a laptop for an extended period of time, it is recommended to do one of two things: 1) Use an external keyboard and mouse and properly position your laptop screen at eye level or 2) Use an external monitor at eye level and position your laptop keyboard at a height that allows your shoulders and arms to relax.”

Writing this post has doubled up with helping me get used to my new office space. I even have the TV on in the background today, but hey, it’s Sunday and I technically deserve a day off. Come tomorrow it’s Monday and we are all looking for 10 Ways To Beat THAT Monday Morning Feeling, but I’m there for you all again so come on in and let’s talk, remotely for now until you can come into the office!

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