Embracing the convenience and time-saving nature of telecommuting for work? As more and more employees take on remote positions, working from home, it’s important to keep these health and fitness tips in mind:
How to Stay Healthy When Working From Home
Don’t Cradle Your Phone
Working from home means taking all your meetings online. Whether it’s virtually calling to a conference call with your phone, or plugging into a live video chat with your computer, being smart about posture and pain is a must. For many multitaskers, cradling the phone between your ear and shoulder while taking a call frees your hands up to type at the same time.
While seemingly convenient, this repeated body posture can actually cause significant strain and damage to the upper back, neck, and shoulder muscles. Inflammation that leads to muscle tension and spasms, even spinal shifting, may result in a trip to the doctor or chiropractor. Experts recommend using headphones with a mic piece or a bonafide headset for placing and receiving calls while working from home.
Know When to Call It Quits
The ease of working from home comes in part from having your laptop or another digital device just an arm’s length away at all times. This double edged sword of having your inbox and work always at the ready can trick you into pulling longer hours working from home than if you were in the office. Waking up and hitting the ground running at 8 or 9, and then sticking with it well into the evening past 5 or 6 means you are spending more than 8 hours a day staring down at a screen.
This can negatively impact your posture and health, as well as result in low back pain and headaches, amongst other things. Work life balance is just as important when telecommuting as it is when going into the office. Setting a hard stop time during your afternoon/evening for finishing work until the next day is a must and can help prevent undue stress and unrealistic expectations from your manager or boss.
Schedule Your Workouts
The responsibility of getting up, showering, and going into the office each day does have its benefits as far as helping you get out of the house. This can then positively motivate you to work in a workout at the gym every day or every other day, as leaving the office to hop to a fitness class seems so much easier than dragging yourself out of the house.
When you work from home, don’t let your workout routine suffer. Schedule regular fitness on your calendar, and take advantage of some of the freedom of working from home by finding great times to squeeze in a workout during the day (when traffic is lighter, for example). Home office upgrades like treadmill desks, stability ball chairs, and wobble cushions (visit this site) can also incorporate more calorie-burning activity into your workday as well.
Prioritize Healthy Sleep
Working from home might mean saving a 1 hour+ commute to and from “the office” every day so the idea of waking up later in the morning and starting work in your pajamas is very attractive. It becomes so easy, however, to start staying up later and later at night because you feel as though you’re saving so much time in the morning not having to drive to an office.
Late nights combined with blue light exposure from digital devices into the moonlit hours is a recipe for sleep disaster. A lack of nighttime rituals (i.e. brushing teeth, reading, etc. before bed) as well as melatonin suppression from blue light exposure on your phone or laptop will make it harder for your brain to switch into sleep mode. Poor sleep can lead to exhaustion, brain fog, and diminished productivity during your work day.
This tip seems obvious, but work from home employees know how easy it is to get caught up working and drinking cup of coffee after cup of coffee without actually grabbing a meal. With an entire kitchen of food in your home at your disposal, the thought in the back of your brain that you can fix breakfast and eat at any time might actually prevent you from fixing breakfast and eating.
It’s the “I’ll get to it soon” thought so many telecommute workers have, but meeting after meeting and constant emails that require replies keep postponing your meal. Prioritize a healthy and balanced diet during your workday by staying hydrated with lots of water, and making ahead meals on weekends like easy salads or sandwich fixings. If you were in the office you would be taking lunch, why should working from home be any different?
An estimated 43% of employees spend some work time during the week telecommuting according to a 2016 Gallup survey. This ‘remote employment’ trend is only expected to grow in the coming decade, so be prepared with tips and ideas that will help you stay healthy and fit as you work from home.