How to Work From Home and Maintain Productivity in the Field Service IndustryBy My Service Depot on Friday, February 12, 2021
What has the Smart Service team learned after almost a year of working from home?
We can all agree; 2020 didn’t exactly go smoothly. When it comes to working in the office, one of the biggest changes concerned the mass transition to working from home due to COVID-19. It didn’t affect everyone, but a large amount of the workforce still hasn’t returned to the office.
A lot goes into maintaining a proper workflow and one’s overall health when working from home. Here at Smart Service, we’ve worked from home for almost a full year now. Through this time, we’ve all made some changes around our home offices. Now, we’d like to share some of those tips with you.
Start with a good workspace. An area free from distractions can help you stay productive. Make sure that you can stay on task and keep your work consistent. If possible, try to mimic your office space as much as you can. Calendars, sticky notes, or other office tracking documents can help you maintain your regular work life. Access to things like TV’s or social media may sound nice, but you probably wouldn’t use those in your normal workplace. Music remains a subject of much debate. Some say it can increase productivity, depending on the kind of work. Find a setup that makes you comfortable. Personally, I keep a seasonal candle nearby to stay cozy. Nothing better than the scent of pine in the winter months!
Introducing plants can make the workspace a little healthier. Plants create a nice contrast from a static work area and add some much needed color to an otherwise empty desk. Good recommendations include a snake plant, cactus, aloe, and variations of potted ivy. Look for plants that require minimal care. These can liven up your space with minimal associated effort and cost.
Whether or not you had an office space at home prior to the pandemic, chairs can often get overlooked. I pity anyone’s spine if they use a kitchen chair (or heaven forbid a folding chair) as a long-term solution. Body health can have long lasting impacts if not taken seriously.
If you can splurge, buy a solid task chair. My go-to recommendation is a Herman-Miller Aeron. Yes, they are pricey, but so is back surgery. I wouldn’t recommend buying one new, you can save a good chunk of change by buying a used or refurbished chair. Check nearby for any used office supply stores or office liquidation stores.
Another great option for seating? Avoid it to begin with. Standing desks represent a great option to minimize the back and shoulder pain caused by sitting all day. Another great benefit is the cost! You don’t need to spend money on a hefty powered desk, just grab a couple books and raise up your mouse and keyboard.
Light has a dramatic effect on your circadian rhythm. This can come heavily into play when attempting to do work efficiently at home. That morning drive with the bright sunlight in your eyes? It naturally helps you awaken and get ready to start your day. You can mimic this at home by adding a sun lamp for light therapy. This can help you wake up and stay awake during those critical morning hours. Inversely, turning off bright lights earlier in the evening can help you get a proper night’s sleep. Make sure you get the rhythm right!
Regardless of whether or not you work from home, a key part to health involves staying hydrated. Your body will love you and you’ll feel better for it. My recommendation? A solid sealable water bottle you can keep at your desk. Cups are nice and handy, but not so much when around expensive electronics (many cat and dog owners have found this out the hard way). A good, filtered fridge pitcher will work nicely if you keep it filled. If you want to splurge, you could go the extra mile and recreate that true office experience.
Transition Out of the Work Day
A big part of every work day is the end of it. Everybody loves going home, but it doesn’t quite feel the same when you’re already there. The ritual of transitioning out of “work” mode and into “home” mode offers the decompression everyone needs. Taking a short walk outside or splitting off from your workspace can help you separate from all things work. Another good tactic involves using a work cabinet to file away all work materials before going back to your personal life. After you make your hours, you need to clearly draw a line to differentiate work life from home life.