Frazzled or Fruitful? Is working from home damaging your health and productivity?
Working from home as a writer can be a dream! Flexible, convenient and productive – you are the envy of your friends who spend hours a day commuting to work.
A brilliant idea! Start a business from home… Two weeks later you realise that you have not left the house or your pyjamas and after everyone has gone to bed you are still up answering emails at midnight again. It’s then you realise that if you don’t get the balance right you might lose your marbles!
Staying at home for long periods of time can affect your physical and mental health. Creating a healthy environment is key to enhancing your productivity and overall wellbeing.
Make the most of working from home by following these six simple strategies to boost your health from home:
1. Walk Yourself Happy
A 30 minute brisk walk each day can provide you with the following benefits:
- More energy, improved sleep, enhanced self esteem and confidence
- Better health by reducing your risk of chronic disease by controlling weight, blood pressure and cholesterol and by lowering the risk of heart disease, stroke and osteoporosis
- Improved state of mind by enjoying less stress, better concentration and enhanced memory and learning capacity.
Here are a couple of suggestions to get you moving:
- Walk to a local coffee shop to meet a client and support other local small businesses
- Walk before and after work hours
- Use your lunch break to go for walk
- Take brief breaks to stretch and correct your posture to relieve your muscles.
2. Get Some Fresh Air
- Open the window and let the outside into your work space
- Ensure your work place is stet up in a bright and breezy area with natural light and good heating and cooling
- If you do not have access to an outdoor garden, consider introducing potted plants in the work area. By bringing the natural environment in your work place, you can reduce stress and provide yourself with a positive state of mind.
3. Get Out of the House and Stay in Touch
- After working from home for long period of time you might find that you crave the social interaction an office environment brings. Social interaction is important to feel happy and healthy.
- Become a member of your local Business Enterprise Centre and join in professional development, education and networking activities
- Visit clients at their place of work or out at a coffee shop
- Attend functions events and seminars
- Join a local networking and community groups
- Find friends who also exercise during the day.
4. Eat Smart
- Try eating two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables a day. You are at home so use the kitchen to make a salad for lunch
- Hydration and water consumption is also important to maintain alert, an average person needs to drink about a litre and a half of fluid per day
- Don’t overeat. With the kitchen being so close make sure that the fridge is always stocked with healthy snack food like fruit and vegetables, rather than chocolate or ice cream.
5. Schedule Your Day
- Keep a diary and schedule your work days. This can also be useful to track work and projects that has been completed as well as assisting to plan the week ahead
- Schedule your lunch break and allocate time in your schedule to get up and stretch your body and lengthen your eye gaze very hour to improve concentration
- With all of the temptations and distractions at home, develop a routine that you follow day in and day out.
6. Safe Office Set Up
- Is there good lighting and lots of power points?
- Do you have a desk top computer? Working from a laptop for too long and cause strain to your neck and wrists
- Is your desk and chair positioned properly to prevent injury? Your chair should have good lumbar support so that you don’t slouch or lean over. Your arms should be at your side at a 90 degree angle, and your feet should be flat on the floor
- Are exits from the work area kept clear?
- Is here a smoke detector installed for the room where you will be working?
With careful thought, some motivation and a little planning working from home can also be good for your health.
Share your tips on being a healthy writer below in the comments section.
Sarah Lindblom is the Healthy Worker Advisor at the Inner West Business Enterprise Centre based in Thebarton. For more information visit www.bec.org.au