Has Working from Home Become the New “Normal” for You?

With more businesses turning virtual and less need for offices, working from home is becoming a common trend. For many individuals, going through a typical workday from the comfort of home is a new and unfamiliar concept. Although it can be tough to transition and navigate at first (e.g. using the kitchen counter or dining room table as a desk), with the right habits and structures in place, working remotely can actually benefit your health and overall well-being.

Use these tips to optimize your health while working from home:

Physical Space & Environment

Not only will a designated workspace within your home help with optimizing your productivity, but it will also contribute positively to your mental health.  Unlike your kitchen counter, consider choosing an area of your home that has the least amount of traffic and distractions. A quiet workspace that allows you to unplug from your daily life and keeps you focused on your work tasks is ideal. Additionally, a de-cluttered space makes for an inviting work environment.

Suggestions to help create a nice work environment:
  • Decorate your space with plants
  • Invest in an essential oil diffuser
  • Create ambiance with music and/or white noise as a means to disconnect from home and focus on work

Our bodies are not meant to be sitting for 8 hours a day nor standing for the same length of time. Sometimes when we are so focused on work, hours sitting in the same position go by without us realizing it. Have you ever considered that the setup of your workstation could be negatively impacting your body?  Over time, poor ergonomics can lead one to experience conditions such as headaches, migraines, back pain, sciatic, carpal tunnel syndrome, and the list goes on.

Being able to switch between sitting and standing is critical to our health so a desk that can move or be adjusted is one of the best investments you can make.

Tips for Sitting Ergonomics:

  • The computer monitor should be eye level and not so low that you are causing tension in your neck from looking down
  • Your mouse should not be too far away from your body. Aim for your arms to be at about a 90° angle.
  • Find a chair that provides support for your back and allows you to sit at a 90° angle.

Tips for Standing Ergonomics: 

  • Invest in a standing desk
  • Ensure your shoulders are relaxed and that your back is straight.
  • Stand so that your pelvis is in neutral alignment and your hip, knee, and ankle joints align with gravity line

Tips for Movement/ Stretching:

Movement is truly the key to optimal health. It is so important to get up and move throughout the day. In the past, it has been suggested that we should move our bodies at least once every hour. In more recent findings, however, experts are now suggesting that we should move every 25 minutes. Taking a break from the desk every 25 minutes may seem like a challenging goal, however, it is easier than you think!

Here are a few ideas to help you get more movement throughout the day:

Walking Meetings

Are you scheduled for a meeting that does not require much note-taking? Grab your headphones and take your meeting outside. Additionally, the change of scenery is a great way to recharge your brain. If your meeting requires note taking, consider downloading a phone call recording app such as TapeACall Pro which will allow you to reference the conversation later.

Stretching

Dedicating time to stretch is a great way to prevent stiffness and get your body moving. Ensure areas such as your neck, back, and lower body are being attended to daily. See the images below for stretching ideas:

Change up your habits

Do you usually take an hour for your lunch break? Rather than sitting down for an hour to eat and catch up on emails/ social media, try taking a fitness class.  Break up your day and get moving with classes like Zumba or yoga. There are tons of classes out there that are under 45 minutes and are a fantastic way to get you energized for the rest of the day. If you do not have enough time to do a physical class, or you are working around little ones during the day, there are many options available online!

  • Try shorter bursts of movement every hour, you could try to do 10 push-ups, or 50 squats or both! Make sure you focus on good form and not how fast you can complete them.
  • Drink more water. You might be wondering how this helps with movement. The more water you drink, the more often you will have to visit the restroom which forces you to get up from your desk and move.

Here you have it—I hope you can integrate these tips to optimize your health while working from home!