According to a Gallup survey released in 2017, more and more people are working from home—43 percent
to be exact. The number of employed Americans working remotely has been an upward trend over the last several years, and the flexibility it offers is playing a major role in an employee’s decision on whether or not to take a job.
So, with so many people working from home these days and breaking the traditional workplace policy of being in the office every day, how is this affecting employees’ health?
We’ve got some tips to help those who work from home stay healthy and be their most productive.
Establish a Structure
Separate your work and home life, even if you’re working at your house. Get dressed just as you would if you were going to an office full of colleagues (except maybe minus the heels!). This will help you get in the work mindset. Designate a place in your house where you’ll primarily work and hold meetings. Treat this as your office, and make sure others in your home know you take your workday seriously—block off the time you spend with family and friends to be outside of working hours.
Limit Snacks and Meals
Since you’re merely steps away from your refrigerator, it might seem easy to poke around in there several times a day and nibble as you work. This habit can quickly pack on the pounds, so make a concerted effort to eat only as you would in an office. Have breakfast before you begin your workday and plan ahead to have a healthy snack between breakfast and lunch. Step away from your desk to take a lunch break, and then allow yourself one snack before you end your workday and prepare dinner. Designating one healthy snack in the morning and afternoon can boost productivity, so set aside a carton of yogurt or grab a handful of nuts to keep your mind off mindless snacking on unhealthy choices like potato chips.
Being active throughout the day is important for productivity. Rejuvenate your mind after long periods of concentration by taking a walk around the block or even your house on rainy days. Do a few jumping jacks or push-ups to improve blood flow, which will help your mental clarity when you resume working. But it’s not just good for your mind, it’s also good for your health. Sitting all day reduces blood flow to the legs, which can increase your risk of atherosclerosis, the buildup of plaque in your arteries. Sitting for eight or nine hours per day can also increase the risk of diabetes, depression and obesity, so make a point to move during your workday.
Get Out of the House
While it may seem like a productivity haven at first, working in the comfort of your home can become isolating. There’s no water cooler to stand around with coworkers wondering who’s up next for a promotion, or office holiday parties. With the “company culture” aspect missing, remote employees can feel lonely. To combat this feeling, make it a point to get yourself out of your house and into environments with other people around. Professionally speaking, you can sell yourself at networking events or hold in-person meetings with colleagues or clients in town. You can also switch things up for a change of scenery and work one day a week at a coffee shop. After working hours, make sure to stay active with hobbies; take a yoga or art class, or make plans to meet friends for dinner.
Create a Comfortable Office
You can boost your productivity in many ways, including with your home office. More than just making it aesthetically pleasing, you want to make your home office a comfortable working environment. Invest in bookshelves, storage cabinets, and the right lighting to both help your eyes during the day and make you appear professional on camera if you hold video calls. Make sure to have adequate outlets to plug in your computer or other equipment and, most importantly, a comfortable chair that supports proper posture.
Meet Colleagues In Person
Meeting those you work with and talk to on a regular basis about projects will both get you out of your house and help you foster the feeling of unity you may be lacking. By interacting with your colleagues face to face, you can learn more about who they are, which can improve your working relationship with them. Take some time for small talk; ask how many kids they have, about their favorite sports team or the latest movie they saw. You may strike up a commonality between you that will make discussing next month’s report that much easier. Even if you can’t meet in person, video conferencing still gives you face time and can make a brainstorming session go much quicker.
Take Breaks Regularly
Whether you get some fresh air outside or simply log out of your email for one hour, giving your brain a break lets you come back to the task at hand with a renewed perspective and helps you regain focus. Make it a point to take a quick break in the morning and afternoon, and enjoy a lunch break. Leave work behind for your lunch hour; enjoy your meal without meshing the two together. Keep eating and working separate activities.
Setting achievable goals for yourself lets you track your accomplishments and creates moments of pride in your work. Write them out and take satisfaction in checking them off as you accomplish each one; there’s something gratifying and fulfilling about marking an item off your list that makes you feel productive and improves your overall mood. Enjoy even the smallest wins to remind yourself why working from home is rewarding.
For more workplace wellness tips and tricks, subscribe to our blog today!