Taking care of your wellbeing and feeling comfortable when working from home is now more important than ever. Planning Director, Louise Carey talks to us about how she used her employee reward points to get comfortable whilst WFH and why it can make such a difference.
It’s fair to say that for most of us the pace of life somewhat slowed last year. Simple things we took for granted before, such as a walk in the woods, a meal with extended family, or a hug from a friend, have regained importance and developed a newfound joy.
It’s also fair to say that the past year has been TOUGH! Really tough! Now, I’m not here to write another blog about COVID, I think we’ve all read enough on that subject. No, what I want to write about is my new blue chair that I got during the first lockdown, and why it has brought me joy! Just like a walk in the woods, the seemingly simple things can completely change our mindset.
Like many people pre-pandemic, I only occasionally worked from home, often to focus on a specific task or for a much-needed day out of heels. As they were infrequent, I’d often spend these days comfortably cocooned on the sofa, laptop on, well, my lap and biscuits by my side. As a parent of two small children, it was a real treat to have some peace and quiet.
Since March, working from home has been a permanent fixture. As before, I started this journey sat on the sofa but quickly realised that it was no longer comfortable - or practical - as I juggled homeschooling with an influx of video calls. Unsurprisingly, I haven’t been alone. Among many alarming findings, early results from the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) survey conducted in 2020 revealed that;
Only a third of respondents have a dedicated workstation, leaving many working from sofas, beds and even beanbags.
Half of the respondents reported not being happy with their current work-life balance.
More than half of respondents reported new aches and pains, particularly in the neck (58%), shoulder (56%), and back (55%) compared to their normal physical condition.
64% of respondents reported a loss of sleep due to worry and increased symptoms of fatigue.
As time went on, I migrated to my bedroom floor so I could handle video calls in some form of peace, and before I knew it, I’d set up an office space around the foot of my bed… another less than comfortable experience.
Like many, for the next few months, I flipped between the dining table and bedroom floor, finding it difficult to separate work and home life when 5.30pm arrived.
Now, I don’t have a big house or a lot of spare room, but I needed to create a space that, for at least the time being, I’d only use for work. Luckily for me, the option was there, if needed, to ‘borrow’ furniture from the office, but realistically that wouldn’t have been practical, and it certainly wouldn’t suit the style of my home.
No, what I needed was a homeworking set-up that worked for me and my situation. After much deliberation, I chose an 80cm wall between my living room and dining room. Then, following a lengthy web search, I ordered a suitably sized desk.
But what about the chair?! I’m getting there, I promise!
At BI WORLDWIDE, we practise what we preach. Running our own internal reward and recognition programmes, with a global rewards catalogue that has been tailored to include not only wish-list merchandise and experiences but also wellbeing items that can address the needs of our Associates who now find themselves, like me, working from home.
This gave me the opportunity to redeem my recognition points to create my ideal home set-up. Firstly, an essential oils diffuser for a calming ambience, and secondly, you’ve guessed it… My blue chair!
It arrived stood on four slanting brass legs, complete with a pleated back to add aesthetic interest and highlight the velvety texture of the peacock blue fabric. Ok, so maybe it’s not as ergonomic as it should be, but it’s a beauty to me, fits perfectly into my home, and has brought me considerable joy!
As I write this, I’m sat at my new desk, not cocooned on my sofa, on my bedroom floor, or at the dining table. The diffuser is on, I’m comfortable, I’m focused, and I’m productive. And at 5.30, I’ll close the laptop, get up from my workspace, and go to the dining table for dinner with my kids.
Having the opportunity to pick my perfect chair wasn’t ever just about having something to sit on, it was about feeling valued, it was about creating separation, it was about being motivated. It’s the little things we are coming to cherish so much more, and employee wellbeing is not just for the office, it’s for the home now, too.
We’re seeing a number of clients adopting this approach as they look to support their staff, whether that’s empowering them to choose homeworking items including furniture and technology, or items such as family gifts, entertainment subscriptions and exercise equipment to improve their wellbeing.
Our flexible and adaptable solutions are country-specific to ensure no matter what or where the challenges are, your business can continue to engage and inspire its employees.