Posted On 24 Apr 2021
For obvious reasons, many hundreds of millions, if not billions, of people around the world have had to adapt to working from home over the last year. Many people have found that working from home actually increases their productivity, without the distractions of co-workers and general requirements for moving around the office, but while this is welcome to employers, it could also be damaging to workers’ health if precautions are not taken. Becoming fixed in one position without distraction all day is not good for either mental or physical health. Below we list some of the ways that homeworkers can mitigate any potential damage.
Watch your posture: many workplaces supply specialist chairs and other equipment to help their workers avoid backpain, equipment that isn’t always available at home. Try to maintain a good posture when working, keeping your spine straight. If you can obtain, either from your workplace or elsewhere, an ergonomic chair, so much the better.
Regular stretching: without the distractions of a shared workplace, it’s easy to sit in one position for far too long. Take regular periods during your day to spend a few moments on stretching exercises, even if they’re just ones you can do without moving your chair. There are plenty of free sites online providing good advice and ways to prevent your muscles and joints locking up through too much sitting.
Don’t be locked to the screen: spending too long in front of a computer screen without a break can damage your health quite severely. The Mayo Clinic has estimated that the risk of death increases by 50% for those who are in front of a screen for over four hours a day. It’s recommended that workers who spend a lot of time in front of screens follow a 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look away from your screen at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. You should also make sure you blink regularly to keep your eyes moisturised, and use eyedrops if they start to get dry.
Go out walking: in your workplace, you probably make multiple trips each day to the restroom, the coffee station, the water cooler and so on. Sure, you probably do the same at home, but probably not so regularly and you probably don’t have as far to walk. This means you’re missing out on exercise. Try and get in half an hour of walking each day, outside whenever possible. Walking is good for you at any time of day, but if you can fit it into your lunch hour that gives you a nice break from too many hours of consecutive work.
Keep socialising: loneliness and isolation have been one of the biggest problems during the pandemic. Many people may have developed habits of being on their own that they will find hard to break even when regulations are eased. If you are working remotely, try and make time (to the extent that the prevailing conditions in your area allow) to go out for lunch or coffee with friends, to work from places where there are other people such as Internet cafés or libraries, and keep up your sporting or other recreational interests if you can.