As digital solutions make it easier for employees to work remotely, and more and more employees seek a better work-life balance, the wave of telecommuting opportunities continues to grow. According to Global Workplace Analytics, an estimated 50% of the workforce in the U.S. fills a position that is at least partially tele-workable, while 20 – 25% of the workforce currently telecommutes (works remotely, often from home).
The convenience of working from home is practically unbeatable, while many telecommute employees also report they have better concentration and higher productivity when they work outside of the office. Working from home does have some of its own consequences, however, many of which affect health and wellness. Don’t miss these important health reminders for telecommuters:
Chances are if you work from home that you are working on a computer or laptop, spending most of your day sitting. Without the distractions of co-workers, team lunches, and conference meetings you might get in an office setting, you can find yourself sitting down for hours at a time without moving. In addition to being associated with higher rates of early death, prolonged sedentary behavior can do a number on your back and leg muscles as well as your waistline.
To avoid sitting for long bouts and to nip bad posture habits, try these quick tips:
- Sit on a stability ball instead of an office chair – you will bounce and move much more!
- Use a standing desk. Stationary or mechanical desks which rise and fall to let you sit or stand to work are great additions to any home office. Treadmill desks are also a thing, exercise while you work!
- Drink lots of water so you have to frequently get up to use the restroom.
- Set reminders on your smartphone or computer to stand up, walk around and stretch.
- Use posture apps on your smartphone or computer that recognize and alert you when you are slouching or craning your head and neck forward.
It’s almost impossible to avoid sitting altogether, especially when you work at a desk. To prevent hip strain, neck tension, and back pain, use a seat cushion or lumbar support in your chair. Click here to find the best seat cushion for back pain.
Telecommuters often find that when your work is always with you, it’s hard to cut yourself off. Pulling long hours may just happen naturally when you’re working from home in your pajamas and don’t have to worry about a long commute. Working too much and staying up late, however, can negatively impact your sleep schedule and overall health.
Your body desperately needs those hours in which you sleep to go about repairing itself – rebuilding tissue, filtering out built-up waste products and toxins, even cleaning up dead and damaged neurons in your brain. Regular, quality sleep can not only strengthen your immune system, but it can keep you alert and focused throughout your workday, whether you’re clocking in from home or from a coffee shop.
Watch What You Eat
Being able to prepare your own meals with the convenience of your kitchen right there when you work from home is a great thing. Eating a big, protein-rich breakfast, fixing gourmet nutritious salads for lunch, it’s every worker’s dream, right? Maybe not. The convenience of working from home can sometimes be matched with unhealthy eating habits like skipping meals “because you swear you’ll fix something soon” or endless grazing out of your snack cabinet.
Healthy work from home employees are smart about meal preparation and planning. Writing out a menu, or simply jotting down breakfast and lunch ideas is a great way to formulate (and get excited about) food you can put together during the workweek. Prepping food on the weekends as well can help in saving you time preparing your meals during a busy workday. For example, you can chop up and store veggies for quick salads, or cook grains like brown rice or quinoa to heat up and eat with beans, roasted veggies, or eggs during the week.
150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical exercise a week is a must for all adults according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Regular physical fitness helps to keep your heart and other muscles as well as your bones strong, and it lowers risk for myriad conditions including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s.
Scheduling routine windows of exercise may seem easy for work from home employees, but you often find that when you’re comfortable at home and not commuting to and from work that you might feel less motivated to get out to the gym or studio. Prioritize fitness as much as possible, whether it’s hopping outside for a brisk 30-minute walk or streaming an instructional yoga video online in your living room.