For many who work from a remote location, working doesn’t necessarily mean we head out the door and into an office. Thirty seven percent of Americans work from home according to a Gallup poll, and that number is predicted to continue rising throughout the next few years.
While working from home can be convenient for many, it can also come with its own set of challenges. Not feeling connected to your team, having trouble balancing work and personal life, not knowing when to stop working, this all affects our health. Health can be one of the biggest issues we don’t even think about, because as long as our work is getting done, what’s the problem? For me, it can be that I want to get as much work done before the kids get home, so I overload myself from 8 am to 3 pm and not realizing that I haven’t gotten up for a stretch, or a call may run late so I grab the unhealthiest option for lunch. At home, we have an abundance of treats right in the kitchen and it is so easy to grab without much thought. It is also extremely difficult not having our accountability partners, our co-workers who give us that nudge and motivation to get up and take a walk. We need to decompress and remember that just because we are at home, doesn’t mean we are going to be any less stressed.
From physical to mental health, here are six things you can do to help make sure you are staying healthy, while working from home.
Make sure you have an organized work schedule.
Just like you would have a schedule of tasks you perform at any in person job, do so for yourself at home. Schedule certain tasks into your calendar and set your reminder, this will help keep you on track and not over extending yourself on any one particular thing. Keep work hours for work and personal time for your personal time. Make sure friends and family are aware of your working hours. Stressful periods during the day for me are always when the door or phone rings, this changed when I reminded people that I work daily from 8-5 pm.
Schedule lunch and activity periods.
When you are working from home, it can be hard to remember to get up and stretch! Sometimes the day just flies right by us. Use your calendar and schedule your lunch as well as reminders to get up and move. A good activity period would be 30 minutes to eat your lunch, and then another 30 minutes to take a walk or perhaps schedule a work out session for yourself. Even if you just walk outside to grab the mail, remind yourself to stretch and get some sun and fresh air.
Have a separate work area.
Don’t work where you do anything else in the home. You should designate a separate work area that is just for you and work. Even if you don’t have the space for an office, set up a small desk and chair that can keep your professional life separate from your work life. Working from bed should be limited as it will eventually interfere with your down time.
Wake up and get dressed.
Don’t work in your pajamas and bathrobe! Get dressed as if you were going into the office every day. Get up, shower and get yourself feeling good about getting to work. How you look can start to affect how you feel, therefore disrupting productivity and overall mood.
Go shopping for some healthy snacks.
When working from home you should try and dedicate a shelf for your weekly healthy snack options. Its way too tempting to just grab a bag of chips and work through lunch while snaking, so set yourself up for success by eliminating those options. Buy fresh fruits and easy – yet healthy lunch options.
Connect with others.
We live in a social world and working from home can make many of us feel disconnected from our co-workers or just the working world in general. If you live near another co-worker, schedule some time weekly to meet in person to discuss work or perhaps grab some lunch together. If you aren’t near any of your co-workers, join some online groups of others who may work from home. You may even make some friends in your community.
What tips can you share with us on staying healthy while working from home? Share with us in the comments below.
About the blogger: Angela Caban is an Army National Guard spouse, published author and branding expert. In 2010, she founded the Homefront United Network, a military spouse and family support blog created to assist spouses who do not live near an installation, but also focusing on bridging the gap between National Guard, Reserve and Active Duty spouses. She has an extensive background in Human Resources and Communications, with her Bachelor’s in Business Administration and a Master’s in Human Resources. Angela resides in the beautiful Garden State of New Jersey with her husband and two children.
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