Most conversations about remote work these days revolve around productivity levels and how to make the most of working at home.
That’s not what we’re going to talk about today, though.
In this guide, we want to address a serious issue that can often be overlooked with the remote work model, and that’s how to stay healthy when your usual work routines are overthrown.
While it might sound like a breeze to stay healthy as you work at home, and perhaps even easier to do so than it would be at the office, this isn’t always the case.
Sure, you’ll have the facilities to prepare yourself a healthy meal every day, but will you be motivated to do so?
You may be better equipped to prepare a healthy breakfast and lunch, but you’ll also be closer to your home fridge full of all kinds of treats and temptations which are hard to avoid.
Addressing everything from your physical health to your mental health, consider this your go-to guide on staying sane while you work from home.
Set Firm Boundaries
The most important thing to bear in mind when working from home is that you need to have firm boundaries for when you start and finish your work day.
Most of us, when it’s nearing the end of the work day and we’re working in the office, are counting down the minutes until we can rush back to the comfort of our home and families.
When you work at home, there’s nowhere you need to go at the end of the day.
This can be a shock to the system, and one of the biggest downsides of this shift in perspective is that you may well find yourself working longer than you need to.
When you’re already at home, what’s a few extra minutes or hours added onto the end of the day?
After all, aren’t you saving time by not commuting to and from work anyway?
While your superiors might love you for putting in the extra effort at no additional cost to them, it’s not good for your work-life balance to let work seep into your spare time in the evening.
Treat your home office as if it were your normal office, and clock-out with the same level of anticipation you would if you were ready to drive home at the end of a long work day.
Take Regular Breaks
Another downside to the remote work dynamic is that you no longer have your morning and evening commutes, and instead, are sat down all day in a room of your house.
At your office, there might be some windows to look out or break rooms to go to when you have a spare minute, whereas at home you might have to work in a room that isn’t suited for that purpose and put off with a lack of natural light.
You also won’t have the water cooler moments where you’ll get to take a break, stretch your legs, and talk to your colleagues.
As such, we recommend that you take regular breaks when you work remotely.
If possible, try to make your own commute, as this can make the transition from the office to the home smoother. You could try walking around the block 30 minutes before you start work, and right after you eat lunch for example.
This will also let you stretch your legs and get some fresh air, which is essential for giving your all when you clock in and not reaching burnout.
The other advantage of taking regular breaks is that you’ll get many opportunities to look away from the screen, which can be harmful to your eyes. Ideally, you want to follow the 20-20-20 rule.
Every 20 minutes you want to look at something that is 20 feet away for around 20 seconds, this will keep your eyes from drying out.
Invest in Ergonomic Equipment
While regular breaks can help with the physical discomfort of sitting down all day, you’re not going to feel great if all you have to sit on is a dining room chair and only a laptop to work from.
Whereas many workplaces invest in ergonomic equipment, you’re less likely to have this type of gear at home.
What type of equipment are we talking about?
Specially designed keyboards that reduce finger pain and fatigue, height adjustable office chairs that protect your neck by keeping you level with your computer screen, and ergonomic mice for less wrist pain and reduced risk of developing carpal tunnel.
If all you have is a laptop and a static chair, you’re going to end every work day with a sore neck and aching wrists. Make it easier on your body by investing in the right ergonomic equipment, and getting it as a work expense!
Prepare Food in Advance
If you want to eat healthy while working from home, and you should, then it’s best to prepare your meals in advance.
It might sound easy to whip up a healthy snack or meal when you have your kitchen just a few meters away, but you’d be surprised.
All it takes is a project that runs longer than you expected it to or a drawn-out meeting, and all of a sudden you’re scrambling around trying to put together a nutritious meal with limited time.
To avoid this stress, simply prepare your meals the night before.
Make some hard boiled eggs and store them in a tupperware as an easy snack, make a healthy salad and put it in a mason jar for lunch, or make yourself some green juices and filling smoothies to keep your energy levels topped up.
That way, you won’t have to resort to reaching for the soda or fast food.
It’s easy to stay healthy while working remotely, provided that you plan out your days in advance.
You can also use employee time tracking software if you want to master how you spend your time and ensure you stay on top of your workload in a healthy manner.