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Homeworker Tips

The COVID-19 virus has an unprecedented impact on our society: economically and socially. If possible, employees work at home en masse and that has implications not only for employers, but also for the mental and physical health of employees. That's why we list the best tips & tricks about working from home.

Your workplace

Now that more and more people work in their own homes, they have to rely on the available furniture. The average house differs significantly from an office space. That's why it's important to dwell on the layout of the VDU workstation , even if you don't currently have an adjustable desk or desk chair.

- Do you have that? Then use it. If not, a sufficiently large table and screen is already a big step forward.
- You can raise a small or low laptop screen by placing the laptop on a box or stack of books. Pay attention to overheating.
- If your non-adjustable chair is too high, or if you have a high table and your adjustable chair is higher than desired, you can support your feet via a shoebox or firmly filled container.
- If the backrest of your chair doesn't fit properly, you can use a cushion to support the lower back.
- Pay attention to your sitting position: a straight, but comfortable position to avoid any back and neck problems.
- Try to ensure good light:

  • Tilt your computer screen away from the window to minimize backlight.
  • Sitting in front of a window with your computer can cause dazzling.
  • Indirect and sufficient ambient light is ideal and increases productivity.
- Every 20-30 minutes stand straight, stretch or walk through the house.

A working day at the office has structure and social control. When you work from home, these largely disappear. Try to stick to your normal work routines as much as possible. Eat breakfast before work, don't work in your pajamas and don't keep your relaxation time in front of your work computer. Try to keep work and relaxation, even in a home environment, as separate as possible.

Your mindset

Do you feel that you can work less productively at home? The lack of a group feeling and environmental pressure may be at the root of this. That's why it's important to make a schedule for the day ahead every morning with all the tasks you want to perform that day. Take into account factors such as a partner who also works from home or children and pets who walk around at home and demand attention. Try to avoid social media as much as possible during working hours.

"Be realistic in the range of tasks and alternate sufficiently in the type of tasks. Always look for structure and predictability. Plan your meals and put chores and things on your agenda. That gives a positive feeling of +control during an uncontrollable period. "

So choose one main goal every day and say it out loud, the rest is bonus. Set yourself the goal to make it work and be satisfied with your work. This makes home work realistic and manageable.

If your organization has the means to meet remotely, it's recommended that you meet virtually once a week and discuss the planning for the coming week together. Possibilities are: Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, Zoom and Skype. Please note, the manners are different during an online meeting. Therefore, agree on an extra clear agenda, go online at the agreed time and don't be late, draw up a report and appoint a moderator if necessary. Try to keep meetings with a large group shorter than 30 minutes.

Your children

Do you currently work from home and have school-aged children? Try to keep a “normal” schedule as best you can . After all, working from home isn't childcare, so make sure that the children receive childcare or can keep themselves busy.

Allow children to get up at the same time during school days as they do on school days and try to maintain routines, such as getting ready and having breakfast, as much as possible. For example, "going to school" can be replaced by a short morning walk.

In the morning, while you work yourself, they can work on school tasks or assignments. Prepare some activities and tasks for the children to engage in. Do not forget to take enough breaks during the afternoon and throughout the day.

Fear and loneliness

The corona crisis can cause a lot of fear, panic and loneliness, specially for single employees. Therefore, remain calm. The trick is to dwell on the current situation without panicking. Accept that we are currently in an unprecedented situation and cannot immediately get rid of it. Try to offer yourself calm by not over-informing you with all kinds of (possibly incorrect) information that the internet is rich in.

Exercise helps your body to reduce stress hormones . Stroll around in the house, do a home workout or go even extra upstairs and down or start your morning ritual with a yoga sequence that invites you mindful move to. Maintain a healthy lifestyle with healthy food and sufficient sleep. Use digital tools such as Skype, Messenger, telephony to keep in regular contact with family members and friends.

What can you do as an employer?

As an employer, it's important to inform your employees of the correct setting of the VDU workstation. Encourage your employees to adopt a good posture and implement sufficient movement throughout the working day . Ergonomists recommend standing and moving every 20 to 30 minutes.

Also, try to provide as much material as possible for the workers. Are there additional screens available? Then let them take advantage of that. Certainly give those who use an ergonomic office chair at work the opportunity to temporarily bring their chair home.

Make clear agreements with your employees about what is expected of them. How accessible should the person be? May the mailbox be switched off for a while? It's best to make clear agreements to avoid confusion and misunderstandings.

Accept that you can work at different hours at home . For example, young parents will work more effectively when their children are in bed. Traditional working hours can then be counterproductive. Be open to this and discuss this with your employees.

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