In the past, I worked for several years in a sales job. It required the set up of a home office, organizing information, and the development of a schedule for me to complete all necessary activities. Now I am a blogger and like many people working from home is a daily way of life. Social distancing measures, put in place due to the COVID-19 outbreak, mean that even more of us are suddenly working from home for an indefinite amount of time. However, while working from home has many perks, it is not without its difficulties. Working at home can be a difficult adjustment that could impact work productivity as well as health and wellness. While you have the best intentions to stay fit and healthy, make your physical, mental, and emotional health a priority with healthy home work habits.
At home temptations include working in an ergonomically unsound position, the lack of social stimulation, and a large number of tempting snacks in the kitchen. So, just how do you stay healthy while working from the comfort of your own home? Read on for some top tips.
- Set up a separate office space – Despite the attraction of your comfortable bed or sofa, designate a work space in your home. Bringing in work materials to your bedroom or couch can interfere with your ability to relax later on. And working from your couch can create mental associations that keep your mind occupied with work issues later in the evening. If you have a spare room, make this a home office. If not, you need to create a space where you are away from the TV, kids, pets, and any other distractions. This is the only way to remain productive. If nothing else, set up a small desk and a chair. Make sure you have all of the technology you need too. You will be surprised by what’s on the market today. You can get specialist equipment, like smartphone hearing aids, to ensure you can work just as effectively at home if you’re hard of hearing.
- Choose a good chair – Invest in a comfortable, ergonomically sound chair that will keep you properly aligned throughout the day. The last thing you want is to strain your neck or back while hunched over the computer screen. Good posture is vital, which is why you need to choose a chair carefully. Go for something that is comfortable, without being overly comfortable – a reclining chair is more likely to make you fall asleep than get your work done. Or ditch the chair and have a stand up desk for your laptop.
- Get showered and dressed as if you are going to the office – A number of experts believe that what you are wearing has an influence on the characteristics that you adopt. Not only will wearing office wear boost productivity levels, but also self-efficacy is proven to have a positive influence on health behaviors, including exercise and weight control.
- Get moving – You should make an effort to get up and move around at least once per hour. As soon as the clock hits a new hour, get up and do some stretches or a few jumping jacks. This is beneficial because your metabolism can decrease when sitting for long periods, which can have a detrimental impact on your health and even increase your risk of cancer.
- Stock up on healthy snacks and drinks – It is more tempting to eat bad food when working from home. This is why you should make sure your fridge and cupboards are stocked with healthy options. Set aside some water and some snacks for each day.
- Log your time – One of the main difficulties with working from home is maintaining a healthy work-life balance. A lot of people tend to over-work, which can increase stress and have a negative impact on health. When possible, avoid working on the weekend, and keep track of how much time you spend working per day.
- Create a soothing environment – To keep your stress levels controlled, you need to work in an area that is soothing. Get rid of any clutter and create an optimal working environment. For example, it may be important for you to have a desk by a window so that you can look outside, or you may want to place some scented candles in the room to help you focus.
- Schedule workouts – One of the great things about working at home is the flexibility that comes with it. You can create your own schedule, and you should incorporate your workout into this. Whether this is before work, during lunch, or after, it is important to set aside a dedicated period for working out.
- Set boundaries – This leads on from the earlier point about logging your time. It is important to set boundaries, not only in regards to the length of time you work, but you should also make sure you eat away from your desk or computer. This will allow you to focus on your food and fullness signals.
- Find someone in the same shoes as you – When working in an office, you have the support of your co-workers. At home, it’s just you. You won’t get as much interaction as those working in an office. This is why it is a good idea to find a friend who can help you keep on track. Alternatively, you can join an online forum for home workers where you will find plenty of people to chat with and lots of tips. It’s important to have some social connection, even in the absence of coworkers. Maintaining healthy social connections improves your overall well-being and helps you stay motivated.
I hope these tips are useful as you experience the current working from home requirement. I know it can take awhile to set up a new routine and adapt to the changes. Who knows, maybe you’ll find that you’re even more productive at home than at the office.
WORK FROM HOME RESOURCES:
If you do not regularly work from home, you may not have a dedicated workspace or struggle to set up a new routine. Here are some resources to get you started:
- 10 Tips for ‘Work From Home’ Employees (Greater Des Moines Partnership)
- VIDEO: How to Reduce Stress While Working From Home (Joyages)
- 9 Tips to be Productive When Working at Home (Forbes)
- How to Cope with Working from Home While Taking Care of Kids (CNBC)
- How to Create a Healthy Work from Home Environment (Wellmark)
- 10 Tips for Eating Healthy When You’re Working From Home
This is a collaborative post but all opinions are my own.
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