Remote work is fast becoming a mainstream business model, with around 48% of workers telecommuting, compared to 30% prior to the pandemic. Far from being a temporary solution, remote work is predicted to last in the long term, with businesses and employees alike making significant cost savings while meeting goals thanks to organization and execution tools like DoneDone.
Whether you are managing a remote team or working from home yourself, how can you ensure that your physical and mental health are in top condition?
Remote work can have effects on both our physical and mental health. From a physical side, commuting to work may be a bugbear for most employees, but it does ‘force’ them to be more active (think of yourself running to the bus or walking from a parking lot to your work, running up and down a flight of steps or walking briskly to speak to co-workers in the other side of the building).
When you are working from home, comfort abounds but it also means that you may be considerably less active. Sitting for various hours straight (so-called ‘sedentarism’) is linked to a host of health conditions - including obesity, heart disease, colon cancer, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and more. It also increases the risk of anxiety and depression.
There are many ways to prevent physical decline while you are remote working.
Doctors recommend getting at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity (or 75 minutes of vigorous activity) per week. Schedule at least half an hour of exercise per day, preferably in the morning, followed by a refreshing shower. This will really help keep you alert.
Your office should also be ergonomic to avoid musculoskeletal pain and discomfort. Your computer should be at the right height and your chair should be adjustable. To boost circulation a standing desk can help. This desk has an adjustable height and the key is to spend some time sitting and some standing to keep conditions such as deep vein thrombosis at bay.
The correct sitting to standing ratio for standing desks is 1:1 or 2:1. Essentially, for every hour that you sit, try to spend at least half an hour standing.
Embrace every chance you get to be active. Walk to the store instead of taking your car, invest in a few free weights to work on your strength, and take part in an online exercise program - if it is personalized, all the better.
To avoid anxiety and depression, schedule some time for social interaction, every day. Use team management apps and software to actually reach out and connect with others and try to ensure you see friends and family regularly throughout the week. Battle stress proactively by taking part in tried-and-tested approaches such as yoga and Tai Chi.
It is also vital to head to a natural spot for just a few minutes a day. A Cornell University study (2020) has found that as little as 10 minutes in a green setting battles the effects of both physical and mental stress.
Schedule in regular exercise time and make it a point to meet friends and embrace stress-busting holistic activities. Don’t stay home all day; try to spend even a few minutes in a natural space where you can disconnect and simply ‘be’ in the present moment.
Remote work is a popular and effective way to grow your business. However, with this flexible lifestyle comes some unique health challenges that you'll need to be mindful of in order to stay healthy. One thing we recommend for all remote workers? Stay active!
Working remotely can make it difficult to get up from our desks, so take advantage of the many ways there are these days to exercise while working by doing things like walking meetings or taking breaks during the day for quick walks outside.
And don't forget about mental health too! It's important not only because happiness leads to better productivity but also because research has shown how negative emotions lead us away from meeting goals.
If you're looking for a good tool for collaboration among remote team members, give DoneDone a try for free.
Photo by Brad Javernick of Home Oomph