5 Expert Tips to Stay Healthy While Working Remotely
Working from home can either help or hinder your health—depending on your own choices. While the flexibility of remote work comes with the potential to take better care of yourself physically and mentally, many virtual employees end up overworking and as a result hurt their health.
To guide you toward healthier decision-making and best practices as a remote worker, Remote.co tapped a panel of remote work experts for their take on tips and tools that can make it easier to stay healthy while working remotely. Their collective advice follows.
Create a Before- and After-Work Routine
George Burgess cofounded Basubu, an online marketplace for yoga retreats that was operating remotely even before the pandemic. Basubu has found that creating a before- and after-work routine helps combat a sedentary remote work lifestyle that can become physically unhealthy and mentally uninspiring.
“This routine is a modern alternative to a commute,” Basubu said. “For me, this is simply walking to a nearby coffee shop. It gets me out of the house before I start work, gets some fresh air whilst moving, and of course, gives me that all-important caffeine kick. Twenty minutes later, I’ll start my workday at my desk and will be raring to go.”
Have a Dedicated Workspace
“If you can, have a dedicated space for work, with minimum external distractions,” advises Scott Hirsch, CTO and cofounder of TalentMarketplace, an HR platform for tech companies and candidates. Hirsch also recommends leaving that space at the end of your day. “If it’s not possible to have a separate space, at least close the computer and go do something else—go for a walk, spend time with your family and friends, or anything that helps you unwind.”
Remote work expert Denise Mai, founder of Digital Nomad Soul, agrees that it’s a healthy habit to devote a place in your home just for work activities. “When it comes to remote work, it’s tempting to grab your laptop and work from your comfortable bed all day,” Mai says. “But when doing so, your private space and working space become one. When you want to go to sleep at night, your brain finds it much harder to relax because you’ve conditioned it to connect your bed with work. Try to keep your work in a dedicated space.”
On a related note, Stephen Light—who, as CMO and co-owner of Nolah Mattress, is a leader in a hybrid workplace—notes that remote work can make it difficult to separate work from home, and remote workers tend to work longer hours. To avoid these blurred work-life boundaries, Light maintains that setting firm boundaries with your manager and colleagues can be a health-affirming move that will help you respect your own time and energy.
“Being specific about how long you work, when your breaks are, and defining the difference between your home and work life will be crucial to your physical and mental health as a remote worker,” Light says.
Schedule Exercise in Advance
High-performance and mindset coach Carrie Veatch currently lives a “location-independent” remote lifestyle. Since physical activity is so important to a healthy lifestyle, Veatch recommends making sure it’s a priority by scheduling it in advance like any other appointment. “Do what you need accountability-wise to make this happen,” Veach says. “It’s so easy to get sucked into work but when you sign up for classes or have an accountability buddy, this can be so much easier!”
Bridget Chebo, Director of Customer Success at the remote staffing and management company We Are Working, has a decade of experience building and leading remote and hybrid teams and has hired hundreds of remote workers around the globe. Chebo offers this exercise tip for remote workers to be sure you get your workout in: “You’re already home, so take a walk or quick jog around the block on your break,” Chebo says. “If it’s cold and icy out, try stretching, push-ups, or jumping jacks.”
Pay Attention to Ergonomics
A critical part of physical health for work-from-homers is having an appropriate ergonomic setup. According to Mai, one of your priorities should be to create a work environment that supports your physical needs. “Studies have shown how being sedentary for six or more hours a day can increase the risk of various musculoskeletal and cardiovascular diseases, as well as some kinds of cancer,” Mai stated.
With this in mind, Mai thinks it’s a great idea to invest in a height-adjustable standing desk to be able to work while standing upright, and instead of hunching over a small laptop, get a big monitor. “This helps you sit upright and keep your back straight,” Mai says. Chebo adds that under-the-desk pedal equipment allows you to get some movement without leaving your office.
By taking these five healthy steps as a remote worker, you’ll position your body and mind for better balance and work-from-home success.
For more helpful job search tips, check out our articles.
By Chuck Vadun | January 24, 2022 | Categories: Work Remotely