Are you sitting comfortably, in your home office or workspace? Or, is the sudden shift in your work-life balance more than just a ‘pain in the neck’?
Many businesses are now home working due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although digital workplaces and dispersed teams are nothing new, even someone familiar with working from home could easily slip into bad habits. Making it vitally important that it doesn’t impact negatively on your physical and mental health.
Here are some tips on homeworking best practice and exercise.
In the Zone
Are you currently scrunched over a kitchen table with your laptop, or flicking through work-related issues on your mobile late into the evening? Protecting your health as a remote worker starts with setting up a suitable workstation, as free of distractions as possible, with an ergonomically supportive desk and chair. Pay special attention to proper wrist support, as well as good back and neck posture.
It’s also wise to keep to a normal work routine, including arriving at your desk at the usual time, in comfortable attire! It all helps boost concentration and productivity, making you less inclined to feel ‘sluggish’.
Ironically, the next highly recommended activity for remote working is to take a break!
Periodically taking your eyes away from your electronic device is important. However, you should also get up from your chair regularly to stretch out all your different muscle groups, including gentle shoulder and neck rolls, and pulling in your abs with a series of deep breathes. You could rotate wrists and ankles sitting down – it’s called deskercise!
This can save you from serious aches and pains, or even long-term strains.
Make a point of taking a walk mid-day, preferably into your garden for deep breaths of fresh air. This could help you to re-oxygenate your brain, and the rest of your body, and will generally help ‘reboot’ your energy levels.
It replicates a process carried out automatically in an office environment, including strolls to the coffee machine or a meeting room, or walking to meet up with colleagues or buy lunch.
Pattern of Exercises
Even with these regular breaks, having a pattern of more substantial activity can help to maintain your general health and wellbeing while homeworking. Just because you’re not going out, doesn’t mean you can sit around all day!
You could think of this as replacing your walk to work, the stairs to your office, or the social sports activities you may do in lunch hours. Space may be limited in your home, so use your garden or backyard if possible (you get the bonus of that fresh air again). Regular periods of activity could be slotted in before work, at lunchtime and after work, for example:
Running on the spot, games of football with the kids, lying on the floor and pedalling a ‘virtual’ bicycle or dancing are just some of the fun ways to maintain fitness at home.
Lessons from the Pros
If you need help planning a manageable but effective exercise routine, there are lots of YouTube videos to help and some expert fitness coaches provide live or recorded sessions to promote safe exercising for all abilities and ages.
Don’t take things too far!
A word of caution. Don’t get carried away with advanced exercise routines or put existing health issues at risk. Create a pattern of regular activities that work different body parts, including some cardio exercises (the ones that get your heart beating and increase your rate of breathing).
It can all help to make homeworking, a practical and pleasurable option.