Many employers have realized the positive effects of implementing a flexible work environment. That means that many full-time employees spend time working from home on either a full-time basis or an as-needed basis. As of 2016, 43% of U.S. employees reported that they spent at least some time working remotely, according to a study by Gallup. With telecommuting becoming increasingly popular, it’s essential for employees to learn how to stay healthy, happy, and productive while working from home.
Working from home has many perks. A 2016 study from TINYpulse surveyed over 200,000 employees across all work arrangements to find that remote workers claim to feel happier, more valued, and more productive. While these are all great perks that contribute to employee wellness, working from home can also make it a bit more difficult to practice healthy habits during the workday.
Between access to a kitchen filled with unhealthy snacks, long hours, and the temptation to work from bed all day, remote working can present some challenges for living a healthy lifestyle. To help combat this, we are sharing nine tips and strategies to help remote employees practice healthy habits during the workday.
Set a schedule. Many remote employees report working longer hours. One reason for this is that it can be difficult to distinguish the difference between work life and home life. It’s also tempting to work odd hours or stay up late to finish a project. This is why it’s important to set a work schedule and stick to it. That way, you’ll know when it’s time to log off and unwind. Find a daily schedule that fits your personal life and gives you enough time to get a good night’s sleep.
Invest in a standing desk. Sitting in a chair all day is terrible for your health – regardless if you’re working from home or at the office. Telecommuting can make it even more difficult to get movement in because there’s no meetings or co-workers to walk to. We recommend investing in a standing desk to help combat a sedentary lifestyle, reduce aches and pains, and develop better posture. If you don’t have the budget for a standing desk, you can easily make one yourself!
Schedule breaks. Regular breaks are incredibly important to your health. They give you time to get up and move around, as well as give your brain and eyes a much needed break from the computer screen. Besides the health benefits, taking regular breaks could even help your work performance. Research found that workers who take regular breaks – about one break an hour – perform better than those that don’t take any breaks throughout the workday. Taking a break gives your brain the space it needs to return to a task with renewed energy and focus. Set an alarm to go off once an hour to remind yourself to take a five-minute break away from your work.
Create an office space. Working from your bed or couch might sound enjoyable, but it can be terrible for your health and productivity. Creating a separate workspace in your home will help put your brain in work mode. Use a spare room or convert a section of your bedroom to turn into an office. For the best working environment possible, be sure your workspace includes a good chair, desk, and some natural lighting. A good work environment will help keep you energized and focused throughout the day.
Get up and move. Being cooped up in a house or apartment all day can make it difficult to get in enough physical activity. Along with taking regular breaks from your desk, you should also schedule in a few exercise and stretch breaks throughout the day. Get up and take a quick stroll outside every couple of hours or try out some deskercises.
Get dressed. Working in your pajamas every day might sound tempting, but it’ll definitely leave you feeling sluggish or lazy for the entire day. Getting dressed in normal clothing will help you transition into work mode and help you feel more productive. You’ll also be more likely to engage in physical activity throughout the day when properly dressed.
Meal prep. While you might think meal prepping is only a necessity when you’re working at an office, meal prepping for remote employees is still just as important. It’s easy to wander around your kitchen and fill up on unhealthy treats and junk food. Preparing your breakfasts and lunches ahead of time will make it much easier to make positive nutritional choices throughout the day. It’s also a great way to control your portions. Check out this blog post for a quick intro on meal prepping for the workweek!
Use commuting time for exercise. Since remote employees don’t have to waste any time in the morning or evenings commuting, they have some extra time to exercise. American employees spend an average of 26 minutes to commute to work in the morning, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Remote workers can take advantage of these extra 26 minutes to squeeze in a morning workout.
Utilize your PTO. Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be utilizing your time off! Remote employees need a break from work just as much as office employees. Skipping out on PTO can lead to burnout, chronic stress, and even an increased risk of heart disease. Always be sure to take the time off that you need to feel your best – both physically and mentally.
The ability to work from home is a wonderful perk for many full-time employees who deal with long commutes or are raising a family. To get the best experience out of working from home, be sure to try out some of the above tips to help maintain healthy habits.
What healthy habits do you practice while working from home? Feel free to share some ideas in the comment section below!
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