With remote working set to become the ‘new normal’ for many, it’s important to make sure our health doesn’t suffer.
There are several benefits to working from home; no commute, saving money on eating out and spending more time with the people we live with. However, when offices closed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, few of us realised we would be working from home for months – or for some of us, forever.
MHFA England has suggested some ways to make the working day less stressful and more productive.
Although it’s tempting to enjoy a lie-in because the commute has been removed from our mornings, aim to go to bed and wake up around the same time each day. This will ensure you feel less tired and help you concentrate during the day.
Make the effort to get up, get dressed and brush your teeth as if you are going into the office – this will get you into the working mindset.
Keep work and home separate:
This is a tricky one as for many people our ‘desk space’ at home might be sitting on a sofa in the living room, or even lying in bed. However, it’s important to try to keep some separation between home and work to ensure a healthy balance. Ideally find some desk space in the corner of a room, away from where you sleep, as this will help you switch off at the end of the day. Or create a temporary work zone using a dining table.
Keep your workspace tidy and make sure you are sitting correctly, ideally on a chair that offers back support. Reports of eye strain and back problems are on the increase as people complain they feel uncomfortable or are working longer hours.
Try to maintain structure with signing off and relaxing in the evening to prevent long-lasting health issues.
Regular exercise is essential for mental and physical health. Going for a walk helps you let off steam and relax tense muscles after a busy day. It will boost concentration and help you sleep better too. It’s also a great way to combat feelings of loneliness, boredom or isolation. Try going for a cycle or a jog before you start work to clear your mind and prepare yourself for the day ahead. Or if it’s been a stressful day, head outdoors once you’ve finished, or during your lunch break. If exercising outside isn’t your thing there are plenty of virtual gym classes available and for something more relaxing, consider yoga.
Whatever you choose to do, take regular breaks from your screen and stretch during the day. Also remember to blink a lot and drink plenty of water to prevent headaches and dry, tired eyes.
For people living alone, working from home can be tough as you miss meeting up with people. Studies have shown depression, anxiety and stress are on the increase as a result of Covid-19, so remember to keep in touch with work friends even if you can’t see them in person. Some companies have started doing virtual ‘after-work drinks’ to ensure people still feel connected to each other while working remotely.