Working From Home and Your Health

The number of people working from home is on the rise. The advantages of remote working are well known: no need to commute saves you both time and money. But working from home can also present some unique challenges, especially when it comes to your health: the kitchen full of snacks, the lack of social interaction and the temptation to work in an unhealthy position (for example in bed) are only some of them. But all of them can sabotage your best health intentions.

Here are some tips on how to stay fit, healthy and productive while working from home:

1. Create a separate “office”
It can be an entire room or just a separate space that’s used only for work. Do not work in your bed, as you can have problems to relax later on. Don’t mix the professional and the personal, so that you don’t think of your work even during off-hours. Find a way to set up a separate workspace even if you live in a small studio.

2. Use a comfortable chair
Even if it will cost a bit more, choose a comfortable, ergonomic chair that will provide you back support and will help you maintain good posture throughout the day.

3. Or do not use a chair at all
Passing to a standing desk can be a good solution. It gives your back a break and reduces overall long-term mortality risk.

4. Do not stuck in your seat
It’s advisable to get up every hour and get out at least once a day to get some sunshine and fresh air. It’s easy to forget it, especially if you feel comfortable or you are absorbed by your work. Set a timer or use a reminder in this case.

5. Stick to your schedule
Schedule everything as if you were going into the office. Avoid waking up late and working at odd hours, however tempting it may seem. And once you have a schedule, stick to it.

6. Include workouts
Use the flexibility to your advantage. When creating your schedule, include workouts. But workout before you begin working, during lunch or after hours.

7. Organise active meetings
To optimise your time, plan some of the meetings with your colleagues at the gym, so that you can discuss your work and workout at the same time.

8. Pay attention to the work environment
Use the space at your disposal and personalise your workplace according to your preferences. Comfortable and soothing work environment will help you keep stress under control. Put some scented candles around your desk, if you like them. Set up your desk in front of a window or put within your eyesight an artwork you enjoy, if a beautiful view helps you stay calm.

9. Set limits
Try to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Don’t mix work and your personal time. Don’t work on weekends if it’s possible, and track how much time you’re spending on work every day.

10. Keep only healthy snacks and meals at hand
Rid your kitchen of junk food and candies. Buy fresh fruits and vegetables instead. In this case you won’t be tempted to check your fridge every hour, and when you do, you’ll find only healthy food in it.

11. Get prepared as if you’re going to the office
Feeling competent isn’t just about productivity. One 2012 study proved that we adopt the characteristics associated with what we are wearing. A group of people were given identical coats. Then they were given an attention test. Those people who were told it was a doctor’s coat displayed heightened attention, while those who thought it was a painter’s coat weren’t as attentive. So, don’t stay in your pyjamas all day, get showered and put on an outfit you’d likely wear to the office.

12. Socialise
Even if you don’t have co-workers, or they are miles away, don’t neglect social connections. For example, keep in touch with a virtual telecommuter community. Interaction and networking with other professionals will help you stay motivated, and can bring you new business opportunities.

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