Don’t let working remotely turn you into a sedentary person, going from office chair to couch. Follow our guide on staying healthy when working from home.
A major benefit of working in an office or other location outside your home is the self-discipline it encourages. After all, you can’t (or shouldn’t) run to the kitchen for snacks or play with your pets throughout the workday.
When you start working remotely, there are some challenges you have to face. One of them is staying healthy so you can focus on your work without being distracted.
Staying healthy can mean anything from regular exercise to good eating habits to maintaining contact with the world around you.
In this article, we’ll discuss ways of working remotely while remaining healthy at home.
A HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT FOR WORKING REMOTELY
As we adjust to the COVID-19 pandemic, working remotely has become a necessity for many people. There are those who are used to working remotely, and those that are doing it for the first time.
“Veteran” remote workers are no doubt used to it. However, even they can learn a few things from those still used to going to an office or other workplace with more structured schedules and routines.
So let’s talk about how and why those who work remotely need to structure their days. The main challenge—even for those used to working from home—is having the self-discipline to work for specific intervals and take short, planned breaks.
This way, it’s easier to set and keep boundaries for your work time. Doing this helps you avoid the “mental clutter” that can become a significant stress factor for those working from home.
It’s also essential to have a designated place for working remotely. It’s great if you have a dedicated office, but if you don’t, carve out a “do not disturb” space in a quiet area. Be sure to help family members understand that this is your workspace.
Having a “claimed space” can make you feel more professional and dedicated to the work that provides your income, not to mention being a source of personal satisfaction.
You shouldn’t take breaks more frequently or for longer periods than you would if working outside your home. Yes, you need breaks, but switching from your working mindset can signal a transition to your home life. This should happen only a few times during your workday.
It’s fine to use your lunch hour for personal matters (as you would in any office), but don’t let these tasks take over your time. Return to your work on schedule.
ESTABLISH AND MAINTAIN HEALTHY HABITS
Sometimes, people who start working remotely cheat a bit by sleeping late or eating at their desks. These temptations seem simple enough, but they can grow into serious distractions.
AVOID UNNECESSARY SNACKING
Depending on your health and metabolism, you might need a mid-morning or afternoon snack to keep your blood sugar on an even keel. However, it’s not good to make frequent trips to the kitchen while working.
You should plan healthy, balanced meals to eat away from your workspace. If you have family around, this is an excellent time to enjoy each other’s company. If you’re alone in the house, use mealtime as a chance for reflection or non-work tasks.
MAKE TIME FOR EXERCISE
One advantage of working from home is that work breaks can double as exercise opportunities. This is a time to use any exercise equipment you might have, do yoga and other floor exercises, or walk outside (with the dog if you have one).
PLAN HUMAN INTERACTION (IF NOT LIVE, THEN VIRTUALLY)
If you have a family, human interaction shouldn’t be a problem for you. Still, if you want your spouse or kids to leave you alone while you work, you should give them special attention during lunch or at the end of your workday.
On a larger scale—and this goes for both those with families and those living alone—you should enjoy some cultural or recreational activities. The more you keep working at home, the harder it gets to divert your attention to other things that matter.
Let’s not forget all the one-on-one communication opportunities we have virtually. When was the last time you commented in detail about someone’s Facebook post? What about those friends and relatives you’ve been meaning to call?
WHAT ABOUT YOUR MOOD?
Among our wellness tips for working remotely, we can’t neglect our mental health. How do you expect to work productively when your spirits are low?
As Forbes contributor Laurel Farrer puts it, “remote work has unprecedented opportunities to solve global crises… but it is also fuelling a new one.” It seems some mental health concerns have assumed new dimensions for those working at home.
- “Unplugging” after work (22%)
- Loneliness (19%)
- Lack of motivation (8%)
Insomnia and sleep disturbances are also causing problems for some remote workers.
It’s important to dedicate your efforts to your work and the foundation of this is having a good underlying structure and routine. Feel free to make adjustments to help you maintain your self-discipline, but don’t cheat since that will disrupt your successful routine.
For more information and tips on staying productive at work, check out our blog
Disclaimer: The advice and guidelines recommended in this article may change in the future as more and new information becomes available.