Getting distracted at home? There’s no doubt that many of us have been thrust into the working from home life with less than ideal home office setups and plenty of interruptions just waiting to catch you off guard. Productivity, efficiency and wellbeing are central to a healthy and effective workplace. If you’re one of the thousands out there now dealing with cluttered spaces, achy joints, and increased procrastination when working from home, know that you are not alone. There’s plenty of available information on how to improve your home office and habits. Here are just some of the most important suggestions for improving your physical and mental wellbeing at home.
While using a high-quality ergonomic chair goes without saying, not all of us can access or afford to spend our months savings on a fancy new throne. However, that doesn’t mean we should get complacent with the same old chair we have always used. If you ever find yourself slouching or feeling tight in your muscles and joints after a long workday, try experimenting with different seating solutions. Many experts such as Caitlyn Reid, physiotherapist at Aprive Wellness, suggest options such as exercise ball chairs. These slightly work your muscles just by repositioning on the ball over the course of the day. Reid does however specify that exercise ball chairs should only be used for short amounts of time in tandem with a desk chair, and only if it is the correct size. Additionally, you can use a standing desk to prevent slouching and improve circulation. Like exercise balls, standing desks should only be used temporarily to stretch fatigued muscles, and not as a permanent system. Both options cost as little as $100 and can significantly improve your physical health while working at home.
While commuting to the office may be dull, it’s a consistent ritual that puts you in the mindset to work. Recreate that working mindset at home while simultaneously being productive by spending some time at the start of the day clearing anything unnecessary from your workspace. Other morning rituals can include making a cup of tea or coffee, spending some time stretching or closing any non-work documents on your computer before beginning your day. This structure also applies throughout the day. Taking breaks at regular and consistent intervals can help keep your productivity in check. Depending on the individual, listening to music while you work can also help with productivity and focus. Additionally, having regular activities to finish your day can help you switch off from work. This is significant in reducing emotional exhaustion according to the University of Konstanz and Bowling Green University. This can include the sweet satisfaction of closing all of your internet tabs at the end of the day. Or even just going for a walk, cooking, or getting some face-to-face time with family or friends IRL. Whatever it may be, having a small symbolic activity to do after you “leave” the home office lets you switch off from work and alleviate stress.
Finally, to remain positive during the day, choose an area to work that has enough space to not feel cramped, has natural light and is visually appealing. Spend some time thinking about what makes you happy, and involve those things in your home office. Whether it’s a window view, art on the wall, music in the background or plants in the room can all make a world of difference. Plants in particular have a positive impact on your productivity at work. They can also help increase your attentiveness, satisfaction and wellbeing. They can even lower your diastolic blood pressure levels, which simply put, is pressure while your heart is relaxing and taking blood back in. Ironically, you should leave your new ergonomic space at least once a day. Stretching your legs and getting some natural light can help decrease fatigue and distraction. This also helps simultaneously improve your mood and physical wellbeing. Grab lunch down the road, do yoga in the garden, water the plants or walk the dog around the block. Whatever it is, a little cardio exercise and fresh air will stop you from getting bogged down while working.
Nowadays, it’s not just your work that is done on computers. Staff meetings, team-building activities and even our breaks are often spent in front of a screen. So, it’s increasingly important to make those hours as comfortable and healthy as possible.