Working remotely is becoming a significant part of many people’s careers. Working from home can lower transport costs, reduce pollution, and protect the health of disabled and immunocompromised workers.For some, however, remote work disrupts the work/life balance and strains their bodies. A few simple tips and tricks can help people who work from home maintain their physical and emotional health.
Set Aside a Dedicated Workspace
Physical space can have a powerful effect on our routine. Having a space that is consistently and exclusively used for work, even if it’s just a desk in a corner, can help get you into a productive mindset.If possible, it helps to work away from loud or distracting areas of the house like the kitchen or playroom. A quiet space near a window is ideal for directing focus and has the bonus of natural light.
Invest in Proper Equipment
It’s important to have a desk and chair that are comfortable. Going through a safety and ergonomics checklist can be helpful for avoiding injury.The chair should be at a height that allows you to rest comfortably with your arms at a 90-degree angle while typing. Back support is essential. Some people may opt for a standing or adjustable desk for better long-term health.
Take Movement Breaks
If your job requires you to be sitting for long periods, plan to get up and move a few times during the day. Common movements include stretching, a brisk walk, or cardio exercises such as jumping jacks.A few minutes of movement throughout the day can improve circulation, promote health, and help renew your focus for the next complex task.
Communicate With Co-Workers
It’s harder to communicate with co-workers when casual face-to-face conversations aren’t possible, but working from home doesn’t have to mean working in isolation. Don’t be afraid to reach out via phone or email with questions or concerns.Some teams offer opportunities to get together outside of work for drinks or socializing. This can be helpful for getting to know co-workers and keeping that social aspect alive.
Keep to a Routine
It’s ideal to have a set work-from-home routine. Most people benefit from beginning and ending work at roughly the same time each day. This helps them stay focused when it’s time to work and to be less distracted by work once it’s over for the day.Small rituals before and after the workday, like getting dressed in office clothes, brewing coffee, making dinner, or taking a walk, can tell your brain and body it’s definitively work time or the end of the day.
One danger of working from home is losing the boundary between work and home life. This can lead to family responsibilities taking over work time or work getting in the way of rest and relationships.It’s important to set firm boundaries between your work and outside life. Avoid working in hours that are meant to be set aside for family or personal time. Communicate clearly with family when it will be time for work and when they can expect to spend time together.
Replace Commute Time Wisely
The time that workers would normally spend traveling to work can be replaced in many beneficial ways. Rest, exercise, and meditation are all part of a healthy routine.A few minutes of breathing and physical exercise can reduce stress, aid focus, and help start the workday right. Many yoga and workout classes are free online and could help in establishing a healthy pre-work routine. However, if you previously had to cut your sleep short for your commute, this time can also become a chance to improve your sleep schedule!
Take Advantage of Natural Light
Natural sunlight can be extremely beneficial to improve focus, mood, and overall wellness. People who work from home can optimize their exposure to natural sunlight by working near a window when possible.It may also help to take a brisk walk, sit outside in the sun for half an hour, or even work outside for short periods on sunny days.
Reduce Eye Strain
The glare and blue light from computer screens can lead to headaches and damage eyesight over time. Workers should take regular breaks from their screens.A good tip is the 20/20/20 rule. Every 20 minutes, focus on an object roughly 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Also adjust your screen brightness and contrast if necessary for comfort, and avoid squinting or leaning too close to the screen.
Get Proper Food and Sleep
A huge contributor to stress and poor health is a lack of proper sleep and nutrition. High-nutrition snacks like fruit, nuts, hard-boiled eggs, and cheese with whole-grain crackers can help manage hunger and improve concentration throughout the day.If at all possible, sleep well away from your workstation for at least seven and a half hours per night. Rest and good food promote health, wellness, and energy for all aspects of your work and recreation.