Since so many of us are forced to work from home at the moment it’s time to highlight a few things to watch out for with our new work environments. Everyone’s home environment is different; some will have ample space and the ability to shut out distractions. Others might be working in the lounge room with housemates or family members sharing the space for everyday living.
Regardless of circumstances we need to be productive in our new environments. We also need to make sure that we are looking after our health during this time. Working from home does have its benefits, it saves time by eliminating the commute. Unfortunately one of the biggest things we lose is our incidental movement - walking to transport, to the office, collaborating with colleagues, grabbing a coffee. All of these things require us to move! When our desk is ten steps from the bedroom or kitchen and we are meeting colleagues online we lose an amazing amount of motion.
So here are a few tips to keep you on track with your work and your health!
- ACTIVE BREAKS AND STRETCH BREAKS - Every 30 minutes take a 5 minute break. Alternate between doing an active break, walk around the house, (inside or out) do few laps of the stairs or even jog on the spot or do a few squats. At the next break time focus on stretches. Sitting for prolonged periods will challenge your posture, it’s very easy to slouch without even knowing you are. So get up from the chair, reach your arms to the roof and lengthen your spine as much as possible. Extend your arms and reach behind you, pushing the ribs up and out. Stretch your neck, tuck in your chin, then look to the roof and alternate for several rounds. These simple options will re-energise you and improve your health.
- STAY HYDRATED – pay attention to the amount of water you are drinking. Have a large glass or bottle at your fingertips during the day so you can take regular sips. Keeping your hydration levels up with help keep your concentration and focus on track.
- GET FRESH AIR – During your breaks get outside to get a good dose of fresh air into your lungs. If possible have a window open in your work area to allow a constant flow of fresh air. The air in enclosed areas can easily become heavy, particularly if heating is on. This will add to feelings of fatigue and poor concentration, making it difficult to focus on the task at hand. Office spaces have air management systems, however when you are working from home you need to pay attention to getting regular bouts of fresh air.
- SET YOUR SCHEDULE - Set your schedule for the day and stick to it. Whilst is it easy to have flexibility when you are at home you will find yourself being easily distracted and less task oriented. So make sure you put a plan in place and include your breaks. Try to get a decent workout of 30-45 minutes at least four times per week. Include some cardio, strength and stretching exercises in your regime.
- HEALTHY SNACKS – Have healthy snacks at your fingertips whilst you work. Avoid wandering into the kitchen too often because you will only be tempted to open the cupboard or the fridge.
Make sure you keep your health on track. If you plan it right you can actually improve some of your regular health habits during this phase of restrictions. Do not allow yourself to fall into bad habits. Stick to your regular sleep patterns because when you stay up later you will be more vulnerable to snacking and binge watching. Make sure you enjoy the benefits of working from home and avoid the obvious pitfalls. Be productive and proactive with your work and health. You will come out the other side with career success and a healthy mind and body.