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Well here we all are again – working from home.  Some of us have been working from home all the way through from April’s lockdown and others of us find this has become our new regime and will not be returning to the office when this is all over…by Juanita Shield-Laignel 

Opinion seems mixed; some thrive on the freedom to rock up to their home desks in pyjama pants, un-showered and still cramming marmite toast in their mouths, while others really miss the comradery of being in an open office in town where pyjama pants and anything less than highly fragranced shower gel wafting through the hallways is totally unacceptable, although porridge to go at your desk might be.

It is safe to say that times have definitely changed for all of us.

Sitting Pretty

So I don’t know about you, but thinking this was all temporary way back when hugging in public was the norm, I stuck with what I had, but 9 months later, the only thing I’ve given birth to is a sore back! Sitting either at the dining table on a hard backed chair or in my study at my desk on a leather reading chair, I find neither support me properly and without a 90 minute interval fit-bit reminder to move, I would be in trouble for sure!

Anna at Panther has the perfect answer.  Anna says “When fitting-out workspaces, whether at home or in a work setting, the office chair is often overlooked which when you look at the facts, a proper chair can be a real investment. 

With the average office worker, astonishingly, spending the equivalent of five years sat at their desk, it’s no surprise that poor furniture choices contribute to absenteeism and reduced productivity. According to the UK’s Office for National Statistics, back and neck problems are the most common causes of office absenteeism with literally millions of days being lost each year as a result. It’s clearly in the best interests of everyone that these work-related problems are avoided.

One of the best solutions is to ensure that office workers have a task chair that can be tailored to their individual proportions and needs, and that they’re trained to sit correctly – minimising potential musculoskeletal problems. Scrimping on chairs without considering the positive benefits of well-being at work seems very short-sighted and, in the longer term, can be a costly mistake. 

Panther’s goal is to enhance workspaces with products that not only look great, but add value in every possible way.”

Advantages of certified ergonomic office chairs: Reduced stress on the body • Less absenteeism • Increased productivity • Improved morale and wellbeing • Added style

I couldn’t agree more – sitting as we do for hours on end, it makes sense to be comfortable and know you are properly supported.  What is it they say – ‘Sitting is the new smoking!’

Checking out Panther’s Comfort range could put paid to all the pain…

Roasty Toasty

My home office is stuck right in the middle of the house, between our corridor of a front hallway and a north facing conservatory and is consequently dark and cold.  The coolness is great in summer; delightful to work in during the Spring lockdown, but now winter is upon us and as we are urged to work from home again, I find myself wrapped in a shawl or more often than not, when practical, sloping off to the dining table where the heating is more, shall we say, abundant! 

Marcin at Home Fires Jersey might just have the answer. “In recent years, more and more home owners have become aware of the amazing efficiencies of a Modern, 21st Century Designed Wood Burning Stove.

With so many people spending more time at home at the moment, we at Home Fires are a complete ‘Flame to Flue’ service provider. We provide full-service solutions for every aspect of your stove or fireplace, from the hearth and stove to the flue and chimney all under one roof. Rather than contract a second company for additional work, required for your stove or fireplace, contact Home Fires and let us take care of everything you need to ensure a cosy winter.

In a cold climate, a wood burning stove can even pay for itself in one winter, provided the home owner knows how to use it efficiently. By choosing the correct stove, positioning it correctly and keeping it working to maximum efficiency it can be possible to feel the benefits throughout the entire house.

You may choose from one of the many top quality stoves that we can supply, or if you prefer, you may decide upon sourcing and supplying your own; design your interior with a fireplace or heater to not just warm, but imbue your home with timeless durability, efficiency and of course beauty!”

A call to Marcin and the team could warm your cockles and keep the work brain whirring! 

Dress to Impress…

So as mentioned above my home office is sandwiched between 2 other spaces and therefore windowless but my alternative working space is on our dining table which is in a south facing room and gets flooded with sunlight / full on daylight much of the day.  Peering at my screen, screwing up my eyes or drawing the curtains shutting all the day light out are not great options.  

So Michelle at the Shutter Hut has the answer. “Many of us have discovered the downsides of working from home the hard way.  Lounging around or doing our normal daily home tasks doesn’t usually throw up lighting or window dressing issues but working in a normally domestic setting most definitely will. Too light or too dark most rooms are not going to be equipped for optimal working conditions.  Here’s where we can help – with shutters or blinds you can gauge your daylight needs more readily and adapt and control to create a perfect work ambience. So dress your windows so you can impress your boss!!!”

 Our window shutters with adjustable louvers and solid shutters are available only through our status as an accredited shutter specialist dealer in association with Custom West. “Simply Better” shutters have a unique new simple style that will integrate with contemporary or traditional interiors.

Our new clean look frame options allow for even inside recess fitting, allowing you to benefit from hidden magnet closure and less light infiltration.

Reach for a Banana not a Biscuit!

Being at home gives us easy access to the fridge and the food cupboards.  With two sons in the house we have a particular cupboard rammed full of biscuits, chocolates, sweets, crisps – you name it, they love as long as it is full of sugar, fat and carbs – not good for them and definitely not good for Mummy’s waistline or health. Luckily I have weaned myself off all of these things over the years (sometimes learning the hard way) but just as an extra precaution I go out of my way to make sure the items they have, I don’t actually like. This makes it so much easier to reach for a banana not a biscuit!

With the advent of the first lockdown many business had to innovate not least of which was Lucas Farm Shop and the bottom of La Haule.

Proprietor Andrew Lucas says, “Our business has been going for such a long time it’s become part of the fabric of island life for many and we have always strived to provide a really great in-shop service to our longstanding and loyal customers, but then lockdown happened.

Fortunately we had already started work on our website but this catastrophic event made us pull our fingers out even more; suddenly finding ourselves needing to supply our customer base via online ordering and a providing an efficient delivery service really made us focus.

With the eventual opening up of everything again we decided to keep going with online ordering as much as possible – we’d gotten into a good rhythm and customers seemed to like it too so we are now well equipped for anything else this pandemic can throw at us – we wanted to be able to remain providing a really good service and not allow it to become a ‘shamdemic’ from our point of view!

We know how very important it is for everyone to get at least their five a day at the moment – proper nutrition and plenty of all the goodness fruit and veg can give us will keep or vitamin C, magnesium, calcium (yes there is calcium in green leafy veg), B vitamins, iodine and so many other vitamins and trace minerals that the body needs to keep us healthy, well and truly topped-up. 

We feel enormously privileged and grateful that we can provide fresh fruit and veg to all who need and want it no matter where you are in the island.” 

Get Moving…

We all know that proper nutrition and a consistent exercise regime are important at all times but even more if we are tied to our home office, with less opportunity for endless trips to the water or coffee machine, wandering around the office to talk to colleagues, running up a few flights to get an important document signed, marching through town to get to the office on time, we have less space to cover popping to the kitchen to flick the kettle on.  Zoom puts pay to movement…not many of us could cope with movement when conducting an online meeting. And being so close to the kitchen it could be easy to find our hand dipping into the biscuit jar!

So what can we do? Motivation Health could be the way forward.  Jamie Fisher of Motivation Health says “I can help get you on track. Sessions with Motivation Health give you one to one coaching, an app to follow, exercise and nutritional regimes that are fun and easy to follow…and I will help you every step of the way so you never feel alone.”

Well now – there you have it.  All your health and wellbeing needs catered for by Motivation Health.  Feel fit and healthy and look good even when sitting at your home desk bashing away at your keyboard. 

A Breath of Fresh Air…

Getting out into nature each day is so important at all times but even more so right now.  No matter what the weather I have to walk my dogs each day which ensures I get out but I find a quick stride across the beach on the way home from school drop off also does me the power off good – it really sets me up for the day, fills my lungs with oxygen (being denied us by mask wearing at the moment) and puts me in a good mood. 

Gardening (in our own time of course) is also a great way of ensuring we get our hands in the soil, good for our microbiome and great for our mental health – soooo important. Sitting in our homes for hours on end working away might be convenient in many ways but with nowhere to go and no-one to see it might be easy to forget going outside – even if you stand outside your front door and do a few stretches and take a few deep breaths half dozen times a day – you will be doing yourself the power of good. And breathe…

In conclusion

So I began this article in light-hearted and tongue in cheek way (God only knows we need some of that right now), but seriously, the more we can get into good habits, good routines, maintaining a regular schedule; getting up the same time we usually do, getting ready for work in terms of personal hygiene and getting properly dressed, ensuring our work space is a healthy environment, drinking plenty of water, making sure we get sufficient exercise and outdoor time to compensate, keeping contact with others and making sure we have plenty of fruit and veg prepared for those times we feel the urge to snack – will all set us in good stead and keep us going in a healthy and positive way through this strange time.  You never know – you may get so much out of it on a personal level –