When it comes to remote working in 2020, many people have realised that working from home isn’t all it is cracked up to be sure, the commute to the office wasn’t your favourite thing to do and hauling yourself when you felt less than stellar was a complete nightmare.
But working from home, especially in 2020 has shown us that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Nor does it look as lush close up and in some cases, the grass was fake.
But with remote working set to be a staple in all of our lives for the near future, learning how to adapt your work and home life to remote working will serve you well as you live and work all from the same four walls. One question that pops up regularly for those new to working from home is how to make sure you are staying healthy.
After all, you aren’t moving around as much, the temptation to veg in front of the TV or work set up is mighty alluring.
What are the top tips for staying healthy when working from home in 2020?
Designate a Dedicated Working Space
As we mentioned, that sofa looks mighty tempting. You can relax, put your feet up, prop your laptop on your knee and put on the latest box set you’ve been dying to watch.
But first, before you set up in the comfiest place in the house, ask yourself can you be productive with distractions in the background. Answer honestly! Some people are adept at focusing on the task at hand and dipping in and out of whatever is going on in the background. The majority of people will need to remove distractions from the equation to make sure they get the job done literally when it needs to be done.
Set up a dedicated working area and refrain from engaging in home-related distractions during your working day. While you may physically be in the home, you should act as if you aren’t and look to create a dedicated working space at home to help you focus and get the job done quickly.
Don’t forget, you are potentially going to be spending a lot of time sitting down, so having an ergonomic desk chair that supports your back and is comfortable is a must.
Create a Working Day
As much as possible, try to refrain from letting your work straggle that all-important home/work balance. Do your work during your designated office hours. Try to define the different parts of your day as much as possible to help you separate your workday and your home life, so it doesn’t become a blur, and before you know it, all you are doing is losing your day to work jobs and reducing your productivity.
If it helps, use your previous commute time to get jobs done around the home such as chores, exercise or making meals for the day. Then you don’t have to worry about being sat at home knowing these tasks need taking care of.
Whether this is in the home or outside at an external gym or studio, but the shift in your activities to working from home and reducing how often you go out and move around will have a detrimental effect on your health. You need to make sure you are still as active as possible and factor in some exercise into your day.
Be it walking the dog, going for a swim or run of an evening or hitting the workout pre-work in the morning before heading back home to get on with your day.
All our schedules are different so look at how and where you can slot in regular exercise to help you keep your body, and mind healthy. How about opting for a standing desk? Standing desks remove the need to be seated and allow you to get work done when standing at a height and level that is comfortable for you so you can move freely when working as opposed to sitting all day long.
Regular exercise is especially important when working from home. Studies have shown those who move around less or experience sudden changes to their daily routine are more at risk of becoming obese, developing bad habits and at risk from problems with the heart, DVT and high-stress levels.
Plus working out gives you a natural high. The endorphins released when you work out can boost your mood and give you that feel-good factor that helps you push through your day.
Can you schedule a meeting where you can be active? Catch up with colleagues at the gym or a meeting place close to your home so you can walk the distance quickly and still get your daily exercise in.
Making sure you stay on top of your regular health check-ups, even in a pandemic is vital. We are all aware of how pushed medical facilities are right now with cases of COVID-19, But it is just as, if not more important to make sure you are proactive when it comes to regular health checks on your body, mind, eyes, ears and everything else in between.
For those who are behind a screen all day, making sure you are wearing glasses if you need to is essential. Ask your optician on how you can reduce the blue light emitted from screens from damaging your eyes. In many cases, you can find a pair of stylish shape glasses that have a special coating on the lenses to reduce harmful effects from being in front of a screen all day—keeping you looking good as well as reducing damage to your eyes.
Much in the same way a boy scout is taught how to be prepared, this plan of action will work best for you. While you won’t be needing to partake in the rigorous activities associated with becoming a boy scout, you will need to make sure you are prepared and ready for your day to help you maximise your time. And also be as productive as possible.
Keep your kitchen filled with healthy snacks you can grab as you need them, or even better, if you are working elsewhere in the home, take a packed lunch with you. Avoiding the kitchen by having your drinks, snacks or meals to hand will help you to remain focused.
Few people can avoid many jobs at home and stick to the task at hand. Nipping to put the kettle on could turn into a 30-minute job as you wash dishes, put a load in the washing machine, prepare your evening meal and so on.
Prepare for your working day as you would if you leave home for work.
Not just business on the top and party on the bottom, you are not a mullet! Make an effort to actively get dressed in appropriate work attire that is suitable for any video meetings or office Zoom calls. Brush your hair and teeth and make an effort. It will help you to get into the right frame of mind for work and help you to separate your day mentally.
Working in your PJs is attractive and at times, called for, but the mental boost of getting ready for work as you would outside the home is undeniable even if you keep dressed down Fridays!
Many introverts are not so silently rejoicing at the fact they are not forced to make small talk at the office or speak to other people frequently. Not everyone relishes the fact that social interaction has been removed from the equation when it comes to working from home.
If you find yourself craving the chit chat of the office and missing catching up on Karen’s weekend adventures with the kids, you need to make sure you are making an effort to catch up with colleagues.
Be it in a socially distanced face to face meeting outside of work, via work Zoom calls or personal calls, the impact of human interaction can have on your mental wellbeing is immense. For some people, this is the hardest part of remote working, and social butterflies can struggle with the change in social norms. Try to make sure you are putting the effort in to be as social as possible to remove feelings of isolation and loneliness.
If you can’t leave home, creating a virtual community will help you ride out the rough patches that many of us are experiencing during this global pandemic. Finding your new standard when it comes to working, socialising and generally living your life will help you acclimatise to all the changes and support you as you wait to see what the future has in store for the rest of this year.
These may be unprecedented times. However, taking the time and exerting a little effort to make sure you keep your physical and mental health a priority when working from home will put you in a better position for adapting to existing and new changes to the way we live our lives.