Taking Care of Yourself When Working Remotely

By DeVry University

During periods of uncertainty, it’s easy to forget the importance of taking care of yourself, especially if you are working remotely for the first time. This workshop will offer some self-care tips to remember while you are working from home and how you can maintain a work-life balance.

Video Transcription

When working remotely, it's easy to forget about taking care of yourself, especially when you're faced with working remote for the first time. This workshop will offer you some practical things you can do to take care of yourself.

MEET THE PRESENTER

Hi. I'm Toni Lang. I'm an HR director with DeVry University. I spent the last 30 years in the field of human resources, but the majority of my experience in leadership development and employee engagement. I've worked in multiple industries including energy, consumer products, technology, and for the last 10 years in education. My passion for leadership development and employee engagement comes from my belief that we only have each other. Let's help each other to be great.

ADJUSTING TO REMOTE WORK

Today, I'd like to talk a little bit about adjusting to remote work. For some, working from home is a benefit. It provides that work life balance. For others, being in an office with coworkers is what makes work fun. A team of working together to accomplish a goal. Those colleagues become friends and family. Right now, many of us are newly remote, which means we have to do things a little bit different, with little notice, and with little preparation. The technology side is fairly easy. You follow some sequential steps, and you're plugged in, you're connected.

And how about you? I've talked to some people who the transition has been very hard for them. They felt isolated, alone, frustrated, stressed. On the other hand, some colleagues feel energized, excited, productive. It's all okay. And it's normal. Take time to go through the change curve. Any transition takes time. It could take a day, a couple of days, a week, a month. Everyone is different. And that's okay.

KEEP YOUR MORNING RITUAL

The next tip is to keep your morning ritual. So, if you were like me, you would get dressed to go to work, have your coffee in one hand and call a colleague or a friend over the car phone. There's nothing that says you can't do that. So, keep that ritual. Instead of doing it in the car, you're just going to do it when you're sitting on the couch at home.

Make sure when you reach out to people that you ask them about how they're feeling. Don't talk about work. It's a great time to learn more about those people who you care about. Encourage other colleagues to do the same. It really helps with any feelings of isolation. Remember that getting to know someone on a deeper level builds relationships, and relationships build trust.

ERGONOMICS MATTER

The next tip has to do with ergonomics. While working from home, it's really important that you have a really good chair with a back, that's comfortable. Make sure that your posture is straight. Poor postures we know can lead to physical pain. It's important to be mindful of your posture throughout the day. Aside from reducing pain, good posture can boost your mood and self-confidence.

Just a reminder how to sit properly at your desk:

  • Your feet should be on the floor.
  • Knees are in line or slightly lower than your hips.
  • Sit up straight, keep your hips far back in the chair.
  • The back of the chair should be somewhat reclined.
  • Ensure the keyboard is close, directly in front of you. Don't extend those arms.
  • The monitors should be directly in front of you, a few inches above eye level, within arm’s length away from the computer screen.
  • And use a hands-free headset. At the very least, use earbuds for long phone calls.

STAY CONNECTED

The next tip is stay connected. So now that you've had your virtual drive to work, think about doing a morning huddle with the team. Again, it'll help people stay connected. Encourage them to use video. I know not everybody is comfortable with it, but it really does a lot for you to be able to see people. At DeVry, we rely on all kinds of technology so that you can see the person on the other end. Human interaction can make all the difference, not just in your productivity, but in your mental and emotional wellbeing.

Another suggestion is to create a virtual water cooler. Invite colleagues to join or do it with your friends. Another suggestion is to create some online games throughout the day. Colleagues can be very creative. We've done online bingo and other games. And then the last tip is to share a virtual meal. We're doing this with our department and next Tuesday is Wear Your Favorite Hat to Lunch. The following week is Bring Your Family to Lunch, so that'll be interesting to meet family.

DON'T FORGET TO MOVE

The next tip is don't forget to move. We all know the sedentary position is probably the most common occupational issue you're going to face working from home. In an office, you have meetings, you have interruptions, you walk around, but not so much when you're at home. Any exercise you can do is beneficial. Use technology to track your steps. Set the alarm every hour. If it's nice out, go for a walk outside. The sun will make a big difference. Schedule time to exercise, even if you're not a workout person. Try doing something that you enjoy. Start small and build.

DO SOMETHING TO BENEFIT YOU

The next tip is do something to benefit you. So now that you don't have that commute to work, take that time to do something that you've been meaning to do for a long time. Think about how good you'll feel when it's completed.

BLUE LIGHT AND SLEEP

The next tip has to do with blue light and sleep. We all know, and we've all heard that blue light is not good in terms of your sleep. As difficult as it is to stop using your electronic devices before bedtime, here's a compelling reason to make it happen. The blue light that's emitted from screens, can delay the release of sleep-inducing melatonin, creating alertness which resets the body's internal clock. The end result is sleep deprivation. So be careful when working remotely that you give yourself enough time before bed, to dim the brightness of the screen. Another option is to install an app that automatically warms up the colors on the screen, away from the blues and more towards reds and yellows like sunset.

SET BOUNDARIES

And the last tip, which is probably the most important tip, is to protect your time. When working from home, I find that more people tend to work more hours when they're working from home, because it's harder to leave work. In order to keep you productive and maintain a work/life balance, there needs to be boundaries.

And what are some of those boundaries? Well, one is to designate a workspace. It really helps to create that distinction between your work and your personal life. Keep to a schedule. Keep to the same hours every day. Organize your day. Take breaks. The most important one though, is to have a startup and a shutdown ritual. It helps to get your body into a routine that separates work from home.

Those are the tips that I have for you today. I hope you found them beneficial. Don't forget to take care of you when working remote.

Thanks for listening. Have a great day.

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