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How to Safely Work From Home

Published 24 Mar 2020
4 min read
How to Safely Work From Home

For most workplaces, workplace health and safety (WHS) is a big deal. Your employer wants to keep you safe and well, but it’s easy to let risk-aversion practices slip when you’re on your own. Due to COVID-19, many of us are working from home (WFH) at the moment. How can we keep our bodies happy and healthy? It’s time to step up your game and learn how your team can safely work from home. Learn some simple tips to keep your home-office safe. We’re not just talking about tidying up messy cords to avoid trip-hazards (although, you should probably do that too). We’re talking about a range of proactive habits your whole body will thank you for.

Protect your posture

WHS 101: Get an ergonomically appropriate desk and chair. Workplaces spend big bucks on specially designed desks and office chairs. Why? Because four-million Australians have a bad back. And the way we sit at our desks is often a big part of the problem. There is nothing that negatively impacts productivity as quickly as bad posture. Over time, poor posture can lead to chronic pain, muscle deterioration, headaches, fatigue, weight gain and more. Your employer knows this and so should you. The first step in good work from home WHS is posture protection. Where are you sitting? How are you sitting?

  • Do your work sitting upright, with your computer screen at least 50cm away from your face.
  • Avoid sitting on soft surfaces such as sofas and beds. If you don’t have an ergonomic desk chair, choose a hard-backed chair.
  • Be mindful about your posture throughout the day. Roll your shoulders back and pull your stomach muscles in. Don’t slouch!

Hydrate: for your body and brain

You need to drink two litres of water, every day. Other liquids count toward this tally – but you can’t live on coffee alone! Your body cannot function without water. Your brain is 80% water. If you don’t drink enough during your working day, this is what you’ll experience:

  • Fatigue
  • Low mood
  • Achy muscles
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Poor concentration and memory

Keep a bottle of water at your desk and make sure you drink water with every meal. If you struggle to drink plain water, opt for other low-calorie fluids such as herbal tea or sugar-free cordial. Cold and flu symptoms are a hot topic right now thanks to COVID-19. If you’re in self-isolation due to illness, hydration is even more important. Water is one simple way to battle a cold. To safely work from home, increase your H20 intake.

Make a move

When working from home, it can be easy to sit all day. You don’t need to walk to the bus, or even from meeting to meeting. You can do it all from the comfort of your home. But, as we all know, a sedentary lifestyle doesn’t do you any favours. As they say, ‘sitting is the new smoking’. Our bodies are built to move and when we don’t move them, the risks are enormous. From varicose veins to heart disease, sitting is risky business. According to government health research, more than half of Australians are not active enough. Use your WFH hours to help solve this problem, not contribute to it. Working from home allows more flexibility in when and how you work. So, use that flexibility for good!

Break up long periods of sitting

Don’t sit at your desk for too long. When working from home, stand up and stretch your legs every hour or so.

Get your steps up

10,000 steps is the recommended daily minimum. If you can, go for a walk around the neighbourhood. Take your phone with you for meetings on the go. If you’re stuck inside, clock up those steps around your house.

Find exercise tutorials online

Use your lunch break to bust out your yoga mat. Channel some 80’s vibes and try an aerobics routine. The internet is full of fun exercise tutorials. Working from home is the perfect excuse to try something new.

Dance your blues away

Got WFH cabin fever? Virtual dance parties are officially a thing. Video chat with some friends and dance your lunch-break away. This is excellent work from home WHS. Your body will thank you, and so will your mental health.

Put your health first

In normal office life, your employer should be looking out for your health and wellbeing. When you’re WFH, it’s over to you. The world is a pretty stressful place right now. It’s never been more important to take care of yourself – in body and mind. Use WFH days as an opportunity to practice self-care. Work on your posture by choosing the right working environment: think ergonomics. Keep plenty of water on-tap to ensure healthy hydration. Finally, get up and move. Break up your WFH hours with physical exercise. We’d love to help you put some great work from home WHS practices in place. Our employee benefits include physical health tips and resources from industry experts and mental health programs. Plus, you get access to discounts on a huge range of products and services which means you can #treatyoself. Follow these tips to safely work from home, for the sake of your body and mind.

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