Tips for staying healthy while working from home
Locked-down British workers are putting in hours of overtime as home and work blur, and it’s having a detrimental impact on our bodies and minds
Close to a quarter of us currently swapping the office for our kitchen tables, according to government data. As such, it is important to ensure we are staying healthy while working from home.
Working from home can have its benefits – the comfort of loungewear, the eradication of stressful commutes. It can also have its downsides. One of those is longer hours.
As our places of work, rest and play merge into one, it can be hard to separate down time and work time. A study of 2,000 locked-down Brits working from home last year found that 51% had been clocking up more hours at home than they would have in the office. According to the study, which was carried out by The Office Group, these professionals had worked an average of 59 hours of overtime each over a five-month period.
Additional hours can lead to additional mental and physical problems, making staying healthy while working from home a challenge. Scientific studies have shown that regularly putting in extra hours can increase depression and anxiety. It can also put extra strain on your eyes, if you work on a screen, and lead to muscular damage from long bouts of sitting at a desk.
Lockdown continues to stretch out before us. Even when it ends, many companies might not return to running full offices straight away, or ever. Many are moving to permeant remote-working models. So, what can we do to improve work from home strategies?
If you’ve read this far, congratulate yourself. You’ve completed the first step. This is recognising that there is a problem. Being aware and seeking self care tips is hugely important. If you want to make positive changes, here are some suggestions.
Tips to stay healthy while working from home
Take a moment. Rushing from task to task throughout the day – professional and domestic – is mentally and physically exhausting. It’s important to rest. Research shows that the first 30 minutes of our day sets the tone for the rest of it. Why not earmark that time for something reflective and energetic, such as a meditation session? Or simply use it to clear your head by making an achievable daily to-do list. Also try to take regular breaks throughout the day.
Set boundaries. There are no clear moments in a working-from-home day when the office suddenly clears out, or colleagues tempt you to join them for a walk at lunchtime. You must make your own. Set aside a regular time for lunch and create a firm finishing time (remember, you can always start afresh on that unfinished task tomorrow). Think about where you work. If possible, make separate spaces for where you sleep, where you eat and where you work. That way, moving from one to another will psychologically set you in the right mood.
Make time for exercise. Humans are not made for sedentary living. Losing our regular commute means we’ve also lost that time when we get up and jump into action. We need to find new ways to make sure we move our bodies. Cardio sessions, such as a run or Joe Wicks online workout, are great for fitness. Half an hour of yoga can be hugely beneficial to stretching out muscles made tight from hunching over a laptop. Even just a walk outdoors will do wonders for your health and mindset. Whatever you choose to do, exercise is vital to staying healthy while working from home.