Working from home sounds like an easy gig. You get to choose your hours, you work as much as you want to, and of course, you can work in your pyjamas if that’s what floats your boat. But the fact is that those who work from home have to face their own set of challenges, including but not limited to children and pets who like to interfere with the serious business of work.
But more than ever, it is important to take a note of the potential health risks of working from home and what can be done to mitigate them. We give below some important tips to follow in order to ensure your work-from-home career is also a healthy choice:
Set up an office space
Have a designated area in your home where you sit to work, preferably a desk in a corner of your room if you do not have the space for a separate room. Avoid, at all costs, working in bed. Not only is it bad for your posture to be lying or squatting in a bed and working on a computer, but it also interferes with your sleep patterns when you try to sleep because your brain begins to associate the bed with work rather than relaxation.
Invest in a good chair – or ditch the chair altogether
If you are going to work at a computer then it makes sense to invest in a good ergonomic chair. Posture is important to avoid back-pain and overall sluggishness. Saving money and getting a poor-quality working chair will end up costing you more in the long run. Another option is to opt for a ‘standing desk’, a higher desk on which you can work on your feet, a relatively new concept that is becoming very popular as people realise that it is possible to work standing – as hotel managers, surgeons etc. are able to do.
Get up once an hour and go out once a day
You probably already know this one. Nothing is as bad for your back and your digestion as sitting for prolonged periods of time without a break. So get up and walk around your home at least once an hour. Drink a glass of water (that will take care of your water requirements as well), look out of the balcony and then sit back down to work. And while you are at it, ensure you get out of the house at least once a day. Even a small walk around some greenery like a local park is refreshing and ensures you do not suffer to bad effects of being cooped up all day.
Join a gym
The fact that you have a degree of control over your working hours as compared to office workers should be used to your advantage. You can and should join a gym or take part in some sport on a daily basis that keeps you fit. Without a long commute to worry about, invest the time you save by having a fitness schedule and sticking to it.
Don’t compromise on sleep
A lot of those who work-from-home take advantage of this by staying up late, waking late as well and generally doing their ‘work’ at odd hours. Unfortunately this means that when deadlines approach they try and make up for earlier laziness by working through the night. The fact is that, if you are working from home, you are still ‘working’, and you owe it to not only maintain your quality of work but also to follow a normal working schedule. Compromising on sleep schedules is very bad in the long run, and is associated with many health problems, stress being only the first and most obvious. Get your regular 8 hours of sleep and do not allow yourself to become casual about it.