5 Tips to Boost Health and Well-Being While Working from Home

Adapting to working from a home environment is challenging, as is forming healthy work habits in the middle of a global crisis.

Since the pandemic began, millions of companies have made it mandatory for employees to work from their home environments. Although these measures are necessary in an effort to combat the spread of COVID-19, for many, this is their first time adjusting to working from home. This adjustment is already presenting a considerable challenge for a significant portion of home workers, as they face obstacles such as childcare, housework, distracting pets, or even simply lacking a comfortable space to work. 

While many speculate whether or not the current conditions represent a new normal, the reality is that teams need to find ways to healthily do their jobs from home. However, many individuals have not fully adjusted to these circumstances. The lack of a fitting working atmosphere can have an impact on productivity, as well as on physical and mental health. 

Amid the uncertainty, what can we do now to take care of ourselves while preparing for the future? Here are five tips to consider:

1. Exercise consistently.

A sedentary lifestyle is potentially one of the biggest enemies home workers are tackling in their current setting. Studies have demonstrated that an extended period of inactivity can lead to obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some types of cancer. However, even though exercising is a positive activity, it needs to be done in moderation to avoid productivity issues due to fatigue, and be accompanied by a healthy diet.

There has been a surge in home workout routines that require minimal equipment since workers started isolating, and most are just a YouTube search away. Remote employees also can find a long list of free mobile applications that offer selected workouts, such as Nike’s workout app, which saw a 100 percent surge in the U.S. after the company made it free to use. Fostering healthy habits—whether via a Zoom yoga session or an online HIIT class—is a great way to ensure your general well-being, with the bonus that it improves your productivity.

2. Practice active sitting.

Sitting for prolonged amounts of time reduces general bone density and muscle mass. The best solution is to move every 30 minutes, but this approach potentially could impact a person’s workflow or train of thought. Here’s where active sitting comes in. Active sitting refers to any activity in which your muscles are engaged while working for prolonged amounts of time. Whether you use a bouncing ball, a standing desk, or a specialized chair, the idea behind it is that you keep your muscles occupied to combat the adverse effects of sitting for too long.

Adapting to a new sitting set-up that requires you to keep your balance may be uncomfortable at first. In the beginning, it’s advised to alternate between your standard set-up and an active one while you get used to it. Sitting in a way that keeps certain muscles engaged and your back straight also can help prevent posture issues and back pain down the line. 

3. Consider strategic breaks.

Striking a balance between work sessions and resting at home requires discipline. Breaks are a great tool to improve concentration and increase workflow, but without proper planning, you run the risk of hampering productivity. In fact, many workers struggle with time management, and this leads to overworking. Completely forgetting about work during your breaks is not an easy task, but giving your brain time to rest is crucial to consistency. A good strategy is to plan your breaks at the beginning of the day. Depending on your workload, simply add in periods of downtime throughout your day, ranging from five to 15 minutes. 

4. Keep track of your mental health.

It’s essential to tackle the social aspect of social distancing. Humans evolved by creating connections with each other: We are not only in the midst of a health crisis but also a social recession. Lack of human contact is associated with depression and anxiety, so it’s crucial to ensure that our lines of communication are open and that we’re interacting with others throughout the day. 

The stream of news regarding COVID-19 can be overwhelming and stressful. So while keeping tabs on the current crisis is certainly important to stay aware, so is decreasing your news intake if it’s causing distress. Know that it’s normal to seek out professional mental health care if you have experienced troubling symptoms for several days in a row.

5. Establish work-life balance.

A person’s definition of their work life doesn’t have to be the same as their friends’ or coworkers’. Stability is dependent on healthy routines, and it’s crucial to prioritize wellness both during and outside of working hours. Those who don’t strike a balance between work, downtime, and being active run the risk of burning out.

Adapting to working from a home environment is challenging, as is forming healthy work habits in the middle of a global crisis. However, we can all take small steps toward making healthy changes to boost our well-being and productivity levels as isolation measures continue.

Chen Raizman is the CEO of The ActiveSeat Co.

Training magazine is the industry standard for professional development and news for training, human resources and business management professionals in all industries.