Quick Cleaning Habits for the Work From Home Employee

We are coming up to our "Quarantine Anniversary". Workplace culture has undergone a complete transformation within the last year; with many deciding they don't want to go back to their old ways. One positive change that stands out amongst all is the fact that many employees have been able to work remotely - people take over their kitchen tables, living rooms or spare rooms with laptops, stationery and other work materials. Something that gets neglected in an office setting is frequent movement and eye breaks from computer screens, in favor of an unhealthy "blinders on, bodies in seats" level of productivity. Working from home gives you more control over your workspace, break times, and how you prioritize your tasks. I would like to suggest completing short cleaning habits in between work tasks, to kill two birds with one stone - a short break from your work, while taking care of your home and keeping your body moving. Here are a few under 5 minute things you can do to maximize your workday.

Do Laundry - When the WiFi connection is weak and the page is taking forever to load, you can easily get some laundry started. You can do quick stops across several breaks as well - first sort, then load and start the machine, then switch it to the dryer. then fold and put away. You'll do some light movement and lifting, which is very important when spending 8+ hours in front of a computer. Folding is generally unbearable for me and I definitely don't prioritize it (I literally have a basket calling my name right now). Having a limited time period to work with motivates me to do a little bit at a time.

Clean Windows and Mirrors - Did you just finish a task, and feel like you need a quick change in scenery? Grab your spray cleaner and microfibre cloth, and get to work! Check out what's going on in the neighbourhood, get some sun and enjoy the oddly-satisfying nature of scrubbing windows and mirrors. Getting that quick break away from the computer can refresh your concentration. If you're writing a long progress report or are starting a new chapter in your novel, the little distraction will allow you to go back to your desk with new ideas. You might even pick up on some errors or repetitive sentences.

Change Bedding - This is another simple cleaning habit that can be completed under 5 minutes (okay, maybe a little more if you have to battle with a fitted sheet). Everyone can appreciate the feeling of fresh sheets at night, so it's like you're giving "future you" a little gift while practicing self care for "current you". This one can also be broken up into several mini cleaning sprees - take one break to strip all of the beds, then one short break per bed to get the new sheets on. Spray some scented air freshener for some added coziness.

Declutter Surfaces - Clear off fireplace mantles, kitchen and bathroom counters, organize shoe shelves and coat racks. Clutter can build up without you even realizing it, but it takes only one frantic search for a missing item for you to finally notice the slow-developing avalanche. This is another mindless task that can bring some relief from being deep in concentration all day. For an added layer of procrastination cleaning, you can disinfect the surface.

Organize Clothes Drawers - Raise your hand if you put laundry into your drawers with little thought to how it actually looks - it's okay to admit it, most of us are amateur Tetris enthusiasts when it comes to this part of adulting ;) . Take some time to clear out the drawers, organize which article of clothing goes into each drawer, then refold and place properly into their intended drawer.

Dust - When is the last time you actually dusted? If you did a white glove test, would you even see any white? People typically won't do something small like this if there's not enough time (or energy) to get all of the major cleaning done too. Similarly to the previous quick tasks, this can be done alongside another activity. Did you forget something important for your work in another room? Take your feather duster with you and clean off a few surfaces.

Working from home is great in that it gives autonomy back to the employee. While we should not let the quality of our work suffer, we should allow ourselves enough freedom to get up from our chairs once in a while to stretch, rest our eyes or check out what's going on outside of our workspace. These six easy cleaning ideas can all be accomplished in 5 minute sprees and less - let's keep up on our work while alleviating some long to-do lists!

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