People @ Personio – Frank’s Home Office Story

This time we asked Frank (Security Analyst) from the Engineering Team to share his tips on the home office period, especially on how to strengthen physical and mental health.

What exactly do you do as a Security Analyst? 

As the Security Analyst for Personio I analyze security forums and communities to research all relevant software vulnerabilities which may affect our software. Furthermore I do regular security tests, analyze compliance with best practices and legal regulations that may be relevant for our software and organize pentests by external partners. Last but not least I support other teams if they have questions about security- and privacy-related topics.

What are your tips for the home office period?

Everybody knows: Not having enough exercise weakens the body in many ways. Your muscles degenerate. Your immune system is weakened. And also your mental health depends on physical training. So it’s important to plan training sessions every day. 

But how to train at home? Not everybody has training equipment at home. Oh, wait… you have. But you may not know it. Ever tried to lift up a chair 20 times or do squats while holding it in the air? Also your kids may be a good training equipment, for example if they sit on your chest while you’re doing sit-ups or on your back while doing push-ups. Be creative. 🙂 

However, in general you don’t need training equipment because your body is your best equipment you have. There are several apps for smartphones available which help you to learn different exercises by guiding you with videos. Do yourself a favour and spend some Euros for such apps. Your body will be thankful for it. 

“You also need some routines as you have them at your typical day.”

So stay up every day at the same time, even on weekends. Why on weekends, when you typically sleep longer than on working days? Because the missing working day routines let you body feel every day as a weekend day. And it’s better to let him feel like at a working day than at a weekend day. Else it can be hard to find back to your routines as soon as Corona quarantine has ended. 

Furthermore you need fresh air and sun. Getting fresh air is easy by opening your windows. But you can not get enough sunlight behind closed windows. The window pane filters nearly all UVB rays. UVB radiation is required for your body to produce vitamin D.

“So spend at least 30 minutes every day at your sunniest window (or outside), while it’s wide open, or go to your balcony.”

Especially for people who are not used to live in isolation, it’s difficult to maintain mental health. A daily workout may help a bit but you also need to maintain your social contacts. So please stay in contact with your friends. But don’t do it via phone. Use video chats instead. Your brain is trained to associate mimics and gestures.

“The look of your friends pours out more happiness hormones than when you just hear them.”

And don’t use your smartphone for it because the screen is too small. Use a tablet, laptop or computer with a bigger screen. You may have dinner together or do a nice cooking session via video chat. Try to integrate the contact with your friends in your routines and don’t do only dedicated calls where you only sit in front of the screen. Show them what you changed in your apartment, what you painted last weekend or make some music together. Again… be creative. 

“Do something you enjoy and take at least an hour per day for it.”

It may be a good cup of tea, a book you always wanted to read, your favorite TV show or a board game with your family. Most important is: you must really enjoy it and it must help you to relax. 

Since the circumstances, why we have to stay at home, are very unpleasant, you should also consider some additional points. Don’t consume news media all the time. Take a specific time every day to read through one or two news sites. Because also social media is full with news about Corona you should also use them only one to two times per day. Otherwise the panic level in your brain will steadily increase. 

There are also already a lot of conspiracy theories about Corona on the Internet. Don’t believe them! Use official channels to inform yourself about Corona. In Germany these are the Ministry of Health and the Robert Koch Institute. If you cannot validate an information on their site it’s pretty sure a fake news. 

If you already have problems with depression or other mental illness or have a neurodiverse disposition, being locked up can become an even bigger problem. I cannot go into every possibility here, but in such a case you should seek professional help. You can find appropriate help lines on the Internet. If you are in a therapy don’t stop with it. Your therapist may also provide video sessions for you. In worst case you can call one of the counseling hotlines to find somebody who can help in your specific case.