The COVID-19 pandemic has meant many workplaces have shifted to a working from home model in a bid to limit the spread of the illness. To help you maintain your health and wellbeing while working from home, our Healthier Workplace WA team have put together seven healthy steps.
1. Maintain a daily routine
What did your morning look like when you were working from your office? Did you get up and have your breakfast, shower, get dressed for work and grab a coffee or tea? If so, try to stick to the same daily routine while working from home. Corporate attire may no longer be necessary but popping on your work shoes, or at least getting out of your pyjamas, will help you get into "work mode".
If possible, try to continue to "actively commute" to work by taking a brief walk around the block or your backyard before commencing your workday.
2. Be mindful to break up sedentary behaviour
Stand up, move around and stretch! Make sure you take regular breaks from sitting and set alarms or daily reminders that prompt you. Often the set up of your home office may not be as ideal as in your work office so it's recommended you take a break from sitting every 15 to 25 minutes. Check out our 3 Minute Workout Plan for tips on how to break up sedentary behaviour and incorporate stretches throughout your day.
3. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
Preparation is key. Especially when the kitchen is so close! Keep the kitchen stocked with healthy snacks such as nuts, fruit and vegie sticks and avoid junk food and sugary drinks. For some healthy snack inspiration, check out the LiveLighter website. Also, try not to eat lunch at your desk or workspace. Not only will eating your lunch away from your workspace help you to break up sedentary behaviour, it also ensures you get a proper break! Don't forget to drink lots of water - it will keep you hydrated and also help to break up your sitting and get you walking to the bathroom.
4. Make regular face-to-face communication a priority
Get comfortable with seeing yourself on screen! To feel less isolated and increase social connectedness, organise regular face-to-face meetings using video conferencing technology. Regular face-to-face "on screen" meetings will help ensure everyone continues to feel part of the team and decreases feelings of isolation.
Similar to your tea or lunch breaks in the office, you can organise non-work related video catch ups with your colleagues to touch base with one another, or call on workplace champions to regularly check in with team members.
5. Choose an appropriate home office space
If possible, find an area that is not your bedroom or couch to set up a home office space. Ensure you have sufficient equipment such as an ergonomically sound desk and chair. Alternatively, ditch the chair and stand up! A make-shift standing desk can be made using boxes - remember, ideally you would like your computer screen to be at eye level (or slightly lower). Your feet should be flat on the ground and you shouldn't be extending your arms to reach your keyboard. Check out this handy Workstation Ergonomics Self Assessment checklist to help set up your home office.
6. Set some ground rules
Are you sharing an office space with family members or housemates? Establish ground rules, timetables and share your calendars if needed. It may not be ideal to both be video conferencing at the same time! You may also want to investigate noise cancelling headphones or headsets to help minimise noise where possible.
7. Establish an end-of-day routine
It's important to help switch off from your work day and transition into home life. This may be by taking the dog for a walk, doing some stretching or turning off all work technology and making sure you don't check your emails into the night. Just like in the office, your end of day routine may involve reflecting on your accomplishments for the day or writing a "to-do" list for your next work day.
Establishing an end of day routine will help you switch off from work mode and stick to your designated work hours. This will help you to be more productive during work hours and avoid burnout.
This blog was originally published on the Healthier Workplace WA website.
- Cancer Council WA delivers the Healthier Workplace WA program which offers free services to all workplaces across Western Australia to help them implement a successful workplace health and wellbeing program that assists their workers to make positive lifestyle changes that benefit everyone.
- Visit the Healthier Workplace WA website for more information, tips and resources.