The need for employees to practice social-distancing in response to COVID-19 has meant moving large portions of many companies' workforces away from the office and into remote, or work-from-home environments. It’s estimated that as much as 42% of the U.S. labor force is now working from home full time or working in a remote-first environment.
While working from the home isn’t an entirely new concept, the scale and extended timelines we are currently seeing in the U.S. continue at never-before-seen levels. Because of this, kitchens and bedrooms are now pulling double duty as office spaces for many in America.
Unfortunately, many times these non-traditional work environments don’t create an optimal environment for your health. Instances of musculoskeletal pain, eye strain and mental health-related issues are major concerns for many.
Though working from home can be a difficult adjustment at first, following these simple tips you can keep your overall productivity levels high while maintaining your health.
Reevaluate Your Workspace and Prioritize Work-Life Balance
While working at home may open up a few extra hours that were taken by a long commute, it also means that all of your work is now just one room away at all times. Here are a few tips to help optimize your workspace and improve work-life balance.
When choosing your space, be sure to choose a location where you can minimize distractions. Eliminating distractions in the home for a work-at-home employee can be difficult.
Unique to COVID-19, we now see children participating in remote learning and spouses or roommates are also working from home. Add in pets or a few daily deliveries, and this increase in distractions can have a large impact on productivity. Find a place to work where you won’t be constantly talked to or pulled away to do other tasks.
Don’t ignore proper ergonomics
Many who are working from home initially viewed it as temporary, so they may have avoided investing in a proper workspace and are working in less-than-perfect ergonomic conditions. If you can, invest in an office chair and make sure your desk allows you to work at an appropriate height.
Know when to turn it off
Once you have selected a workspace and updated it for ergonomics, be sure to treat it like an actual office. When you leave that space, stop working. At the end of the day, you should turn off email notifications, shut your computer down and let your mind turn to other things.
Establish a Routine That Includes Time for Your Personal Well-Being
When working from home, most agree it is important to eliminate distractions and keep workday productivity high, but giving yourself personal time can be equally as important. Here are a few key items you should be including in your daily work schedule.
Time to decompress
At first you may not miss commuting to the office, but many people who begin working from home start to miss the decompression time that commuting may have enabled. Be sure to set aside time at the end of your workday to do something you enjoy.
This time doesn't have to take up the same amount of time as your commute did but give yourself time to come down from work.
Time to stand up
Setting a reminder to stand may seem like a minor thing but making time to get up from your desk throughout the day can have a major impact on your overall health.
Sitting may promote certain health problems so it’s important that you move around for two to five minutes at least every hour for your own health.
Time for eye health
If you are someone who spends most of the workday on your phone or computer, giving your eyes time to rest is crucial. These breaks don't have to bring your day to a complete stop. Simply taking time to look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds a few times an hour will do the trick.
Creating time for your eyes is not just getting away from the computer. When you focus intently on a screen, you tend to blink less, which can increase overall strain on your eyes. To combat this, spend part of your break focused on blinking.
Stay Focused on Your Health
Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you need to neglect your physical or mental health. By following a few small tips, you can maintain a healthy lifestyle, even if your home has now become your office too.
Limit snack breaks
You may have had the perfect diet and exercise routine before, but now COVID-19 has flipped that upside down. Being at home means constant access to snacks.
One quick tip is to focus on keeping the kitchen stocked with healthy snacks and pre-planned meals to limit what is tempting you.
Focus on nutrition
Certain foods may be helpful for boosting the immune system and preventing colds and the flu. While research is limited, eating a diet rich in plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes that are rich in nutrients and antioxidants could potentially give you an upper hand against harmful illnesses.
Create meals plan
By making a meal plan and preparing food beforehand, you can set yourself up for success at snack and meal times. Avoid trips to the kitchen without a plan if you are hungry.
You should also stay away from eating in your workspace, as taking personal time for lunch can be beneficial to your overall work-from-home satisfaction.
Keep mental health a priority
Working from home also means limited in-person interaction and potentially not seeing friends and colleagues who are a part of your daily life. Make time to reach out to those you care about. Knowing that someone is only a phone call or video chat away may help you manage feelings of anxiety or isolation.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the need to socially distance made it so that the way people work had to change. This change has created many different ways your physical and mental health may be seeing changes. If you are experiencing changes to your health, CareNow® has experienced healthcare providers who are qualified to help you with a variety of health concerns. Visit our website to schedule an appointment today.
Don’t forget to utilize our Web Check-In® feature before your appointment to avoid the waiting room too!
Disclaimer: Patients’ health can vary. Always consult with a medical professional before taking medication, making health-related decisions or deciding if medical advice is right for you.