We all know it: to work from home really is all it’s cracked up to be. Jobs from home are great for both employees and employers. Companies are able to cut down on costs and grow their business and employees get to spend more time with the people they love. Nowadays, lots of people even start and run their own business from home.
Here are a few things remote workers should watch out for in order to safeguard their mental and physical health:
Keep your work and home life distinct
When you work from home, your workplace is also your living space. Therefore, it can be very easy for the distinction between the two to blur. For many, arriving home after a long day at work can act as a mental signal to “switch off” into relax mode. Remote workers with jobs from home cannot enjoy that luxury. But, a good way to keep your work and home life apart could be to create an office space. Having a home office will help keep you away from distracting influences – such as the television, the bed or the couch. This can boost your productivity and enable concentration. Once your work day is over, you can physically “leave” your office (even if it is just a rickety old desk and a laptop) and switch to home mode.
Make comfort a priority when working from home
You may not have to endure uncomfortable heels or stifling ties to work when you are a remote worker, but in truth, spending hours on end at your desk may be very detrimental to your health.
Sitting for prolonged periods of time may cause postural stress and eventually lead to complications such as lower back pain and sciatica.
Though these can be temporarily alleviated by taking short, regular breaks, it can certainly spell trouble in the long run.
Here are a few simple measures you can take to avoid unnecessary strain to your back, neck and eyes while working at your desk:
- Ensure your desk is not too high or too low. Your elbows should be at right angles to the surface of your desk.
- Always sit with your feet flat on the floor, and your thighs horizontal. Your knees must also be at right angles to the floor.
- Give your eyes regular breaks – too much screen time can strain and/or dry them out. If you have trouble seeing properly, have your vision checked.
- Stretch or get up once in a while – your body was made for movement.
- Invest in a proper office chair.
If you want to avoid sitting problems altogether, a good alternative may be a standing desk. Standing desks are great for workers on the go who excel at multi-tasking. Have your desk at easy access and do your work in short bursts throughout the day for maximum productivity.
Keep yourself active
When you’re working from home, putting in a substantial amount of work every day requires long hours of physical inactivity. While the rest of the world gets its exercise easily, commuting to and from work, climbing up and down stairs and walking to their car after work, remote workers may find it difficult to fit in some exercise. And they’re probably the ones that need it the most. – Research shows that they tend to put in longer working hours than their nine-to-five counterparts, hence spending a lot longer in a (possibly incorrect) sitting position. The good news, though, is that employees with jobs from home can take advantage of their flexible work schedule and fit in a walk or a visit to the gym – or even just a quick jog around the block.
Create a schedule
One of the biggest attractions of jobs from home is its flexibility. Great, you might think at first – no waking up early for me anymore, right? Wrong. There is plenty of research that indicates that having a daily routine is good for you.
Getting up routinely every morning and planning your workload meticulously every day is beneficial to your mental health. It especially helps as a way of avoiding stress. Sticking to a well-devised schedule allows you to allocate given time periods to each task. It will help you to free up more of your day and avoid those panic-stricken moments when you realise you’ve left it too late.
Great time management skills are essential if you are to devise a schedule that makes sense.
Seek out company who offer jobs from home
Working at home is great on all counts – but it’s certainly no secret that it can get real lonely at times. People are social beings and office workers can brighten up their day with some good old gossip, an informal chat or a quick coffee, but remote workers can kiss all those little perks goodbye.
If keeping up an unrewarding monologue with your dog isn’t quite quenching your thirst for company, make it a point to actively seek out social opportunities. Give yourself a break and schedule a half hour for a snack at your local coffee shop with your best friend, sign up at the gym for a class to meet your combined friendship and fitness goals, or, if you really can’t get out – technology is always there to save you. Give your significant other a call or, if all else fails, Skype!
Pay attention to your environment
There’s no such thing as organised chaos – which is why your environment is directly proportional to your creativity. Studies show that factors such as colour and cluttered work environments can impact work productivity; which is why your home office space should be designed with this in mind.
Keep yourself organised as much as possible – CLEAR YOUR DESK, stick to your schedule and, if necessary, add a candlestick or two to convey warmth and cosiness.
Watching your diet is important whatever your job is. But working at home means you’ll be within easier reach of the cupboard, and this can carry unhealthy implications. Once you’re immersed in a task, it’s quite probable that you’ll find yourself looking for ready-to-eat snacks packed full of preserves, salt and sugar. Plan ahead and make sure your kitchen is stocked with healthy alternatives. Opt for fruit, cereal bars, nuts and smoothies for that much-needed energy boost.
Dress to impress
Remember what we said about keeping work and home life distinct?
You may be tempted to stay in your pyjamas all day. But skipping entirely on the work wardrobe will do absolutely nothing for your productivity.
Life coach Helen Fisher says what we wear can have a direct effect on our mindset. If you realise your nightclothes have you lolling about more than usual, ditch the PJs and don something smart (and a little less comfortable!) that helps you feel good about yourself. This will sharpen your senses and enhance your productivity.
Oh – and don’t forget your personal hygiene. Make it a point to shower, shave and brush just as regularly as usual, even if you won’t be setting foot outside.
Give yourself a break
The good thing about working at home is that you can work at all hours. But that doesn’t mean you should make a habit of pulling all-nighters. Make sure you work a reasonable amount of time each day, make time for your family, don’t work if you’re sick and keep the weekends free unless absolutely necessary.
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