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From Setup to Snacking, There’s an Art to Working From Home

May 13, 2020

Thanks to reliable broadband networks, many of us have been able to turn our home space into our workplace as we weather the COVID-19 pandemic. But doing business at home in this new normal world isn’t always easy. Luckily, your fellow telecommuters at CableLabs have come up with some great ideas to help you get the job done while at home, from creating a workable workplace to probably the most important issue: Snacks.

Let’s start with the basics. Good work depends on a good workspace, so setup is key. Your home office should be in an area where there is good light and a strong broadband connection. If you must participate in teleconferencing calls, make sure your computer has a good camera, microphone and speakers. To avoid looking like a shadow puppet during video calls, make sure any bright window or desk light is in front of you, not behind.

Now look at your work space, including your chair, keyboard, mouse and monitor(s). Is your monitor screen at or slightly below eye level? Are your armrests at a level with your elbows, so your shoulders aren’t straining or hunching? Is your keyboard positioned so your wrists are not contorting as you type? With some simple changes, you can avoid the misery of headaches, backaches and carpal tunnel syndrome pain.

One of the biggest problems for office workers also hits home for telecommuters: Don’t sit too long while staring into a bright monitor. To avoid eye strain, make a habit of looking away from the screen for a couple of minutes every hour or so. To give your backside a break, try setting up an alternative standing desk using a counter or high table.

If a standing desk isn’t doable, try getting up and moving at regular intervals. Luckily, there are always plenty of household chores waiting, such as loading/unloading the dishwasher or shoving dirty clothes into the washing machine. This will not only give your eyes and body a necessary break, but you will have something clean to wear and dishes ready for dinner.

Another big problem is isolation, as we get used to working outside of an office filled with coworkers. To keep your day from feeling like solitary confinement, schedule regular team teleconferencing meetings so that you can still see and hear your colleagues. And don’t worry if the first few minutes are spent telling funny stories about epic cooking fails or what the dog did this weekend – this is good, morale-boosting social interaction, and as long as everyone moves into work topics after a few minutes, it does far more good than harm.

And finally, snack choice is crucial. Working from home means you are much closer to the fridge and pantry, which can be a blessing but also a curse for your waistline. Great options for munching during the work-at-home day include mini carrots, celery, hummus and granola. Favorites among CableLabs team members include cheese, nuts and jerky – all are loaded with protein that will power your productivity and reduce hunger pangs. Of course, every once in a while, indulge in a favorite treat, be it animal crackers, cookies or chocolate. Working from home doesn’t have to be torture, after all.

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