The pandemic has sent millions of employees into work-from-home (WFH) situations. Even as the crisis begins to ease, it looks like countless individuals may remain on the homefront for the foreseeable future.
With so many people working remotely for so long, it’s important to invest in more than the work-from-home basics. Health is particularly easy to overlook in the remote work equation.
With that said, here are some more advanced health concerns that WFH employees should have as a top priority.
There are several important aspects of your physical health that can seriously impact your ability to be productive when working at home. With lines between professional and personal life blurred, it’s important to keep these items in focus to ensure that you’re giving them proper attention. There are three basic areas that everyone should address, no matter what their circumstances:
- Sleep: Sleep is essential. Try to get at least seven and ideally eight hours of sleep each night. Also, make sure that your sleeping environment is conducive to high-quality sleep.
- Diet: It’s important to figure out a quality diet that is tailored to your needs and keeps your body fueled throughout the day.
- Exercise: Sitting all day while you work at home can lead to a state of unhealthy lethargy. Anything from a home gym to a good “deskercise” routine can help to keep your body in shape.
Along with these basic health considerations, it’s also wise to keep an eye out for medical concerns. For instance, if you find that you’re suffering from chronic backaches from sitting at a desk, it’s wise to schedule an appointment with a chiropractor. If you’re suffering from acid reflux, it’s worth looking into a good GERD medication to help you manage the symptoms while you work.
If you’re concerned about visiting a physical doctor’s office, you can still take advantage of telehealth options to gauge the severity and consider solutions to any health concerns that you may have. In spite of its inherent challenges, remote healthcare has dramatically improved during the pandemic and should rank as a legitimate option at this point.
Tending to Your Mental Health
Along with your physical health, it’s also critical that you regularly address your mental health needs. This can be more nuanced than basic health care for your physical body. But it’s important, nevertheless. A few suggestions for ways to keep your mental health a top priority include:
- Striving for work-life balance: Designate a workspace and set up boundaries between your work and personal life.
- Taking breaks: From taking five minutes to stretch to fostering the habit of unplugging from your work devices at the end of the day, breaks are essential to maintaining your WFH sanity.
- Steer into routines: Adding routines to your day provides a sense of stability to ease the tension that can build up in your thoughts when things feel hectic and out of control.
- Checking in with yourself: Schedule times to regularly check in with your thoughts and overall mental state.
Mental health can quickly slip when you’re isolated. Depression, stress, and anxiety can eat away at your health and happiness. Finding ways to prioritize your mental health is always essential when you’re a remote worker.
Extracurricular Stuff to Watch Out For
Of course, your work-from-home health isn’t solely contingent on your body’s physical condition or your mind’s health. You can also have threats from your environment.
Some of these are obvious, like the need to set up an office space with plenty of lighting and a good, ergonomic desk and chair. Including greenery in your decor is another great way to boost your mental state.
It’s also wise to look deeper for small-yet-significant threats within your home environment. For instance, if you’re working in a home office that was previously more-or-less unoccupied, there may be dust or mold along the baseboards or in the carpet. Cleaning the space and getting a quality air purifier can make a huge difference in the air you’re breathing all day.
Even something as simple as checking the ingredients on your morning hygiene and cosmetics products can be beneficial. For example, many products contain talcum powder, which may have asbestos. Swapping these out for more natural solutions can quietly boost your overall health.
Staying Healthy When Working from Home
There are countless considerations that come with working from home. From online work tools to a good home office setup to changing schedules, it takes a lot to successfully work remotely.
In all of the hustle and bustle, it’s easy to lose sight of your health. From physical considerations like sleep and exercise to mental health and even the status of your work environment, it’s important for WFH employees to make an effort to prioritize their health.
So review your physical, mental, and environmental status. How are you doing? Is your health lacking in any specific area? Perhaps all three? Gauge your current state of health and then consider what steps you can take to address it in the name of a long, healthy, and prosperous period of time while you’re working from home.
By Indiana Lee, BOSS contributor