Tips and Tools to Stay Healthy While Working Remotely
Working remotely can be a blessing and a curse when it comes to staying healthy and fit. I’ve been a remote worker—at Fire Engine RED, a marketing, technology, and data company serving the education market—for more than two years. I’ve picked up some great tips and tools from my experience and coworkers on ways to avoid illness, keep in shape, and stay sane while working from home. Below are a few tips for you to stay healthy while working remotely.
Avoiding or Minimizing Illness
When you go into an office every day, you’re exposing your immune system not just to your coworkers sneezes and coughs, but those of everyone they’ve come in contact with. The advantage of working at home: You’re around fewer sick people. (It doesn’t hurt, though, to have hand sanitizer within easy reach or to use a disinfectant wipe on your desk and computer equipment occasionally.)
Soaking up a little sunshine will boost your vitamin D and your immune system and help you stay healthy while working remotely. So, get outside sometimes, and don’t forget the sunscreen!
If you do get sick, it’s tempting to keep working even if it’s from the couch or bed with crumpled-up tissues everywhere. My experience, and that of others I’ve talked to at my company, is to “call in sick” and get your rest. Doing so will reduce the amount of time it takes for you to get back to feeling 100 percent.
Here’s where working at home puts you at a disadvantage, because you can go most of the day without getting out of your chair. Set the alarm on your smartphone to go off every hour to remind you to get up and walk around the house.
Speaking of walking, the company I work for has a virtual walking group. Our CEO started the group to provide encouragement, support, and a sense of community. Now, quite a few people here have “walking meetings” if being in front of their computers isn’t necessary.
So, get yourself a fitness tracker and encourage your remote coworkers to do the same. (Fitbit is Fire Engine RED’s tracker of choice, but there are several others to choose from.) It’s a great way to see your progress and to compare steps in friendly competition with your coworkers.
Another way to stay healthy while working remotely is to use dumbbells (or kettlebells). Even a five-minute strength workout in your home office will boost your energy more than that third cup of coffee.
Okay, let’s be honest, even if you have roommates, a spouse, kids, pets, or others coming and going throughout the day, you’re going to be spending a significant part of the day by yourself. In fact, that’s why many of us chose the work-from-home path—it minimizes the distractions caused by interruptions from other people.
If you want to stay in your right mind, though, it’s important to maintain some human contact. Want to surround yourself with people but not actually have to listen to or engage with them? I suggest the library. If you’re looking for a little more background noise, hit a coffee shop. Or better yet, mix it up and work from the coffee shop in the morning, the library in the afternoon, or vice versa.
All of the Above
My best tip for avoiding illness, keeping fit, and staying sane—all at once—is to just get up, get out, and go for a walk. You could run into a friend or make a new one; in any case, you’ll return feeling energetic in body and mind.
By Chuck Vadun | February 8, 2016 | Categories: Work Remotely