10 Health Tips for Working at Home

In a matter of just a few weeks, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed how society operates with a large portion of the workforce now operating from home.  Working from home has many benefits, but it takes planning and discipline to ensure your work is productive, and that you maintain a healthy work/life balance.

Here are some tips to help get you through:

1. Maintain regular hours

Set a schedule and stick to it…most of the time.  It’s great to have flexibility but be careful not to blur the lines between work and play.  Having present time consciousness ensures you are more productive at work and more engaged with your social and family time.  Contrary to popular belief, no one can multi-task, not even women!

Of course, your start and finish time does not have to be the same if you are working from home.  Choose the times that best suit your lifestyle, while fitting in with the requirements of your job.

2. Have a designated workplace

If you’re lucky enough to have a separate study, this should be easy.  For many it will be the kitchen table.  Just don’t bring the work laptop to bed!  Having a designated working space means you can physically leave the space when you’re on a break or finished for the day.  If you can’t close the door to your workspace, be sure to pack it away at the end of the day.

3. Get the family on board

For many, this will be the biggest challenge.  How do you explain to your 3-year-old that just because you’re home, doesn’t mean you’re available to play?  It’s not easy.  As best you can set the ground rules and make sure everyone in the house knows what they are.

4. Get the ergonomics right

Your kitchen bench might not be as suitable for a full day’s work, like the ergonomic chair you have in your office.  Here are some key ergonomic guidelines to help with sitting:

  • Feet flat on ground
  • Knees should be slightly higher than hips
  • Arms should be relaxed by your side with elbows at 100-120deg
  • Posture should be relaxed and tall – eyes looking straight at screen with head neutral

If there is an opportunity to be at a standing desk, even better, as this will be helpful for most people.  If standing, maintain an upright relaxed posture and use a footrest.

We recommend the Posture M8 as an excellent air cushion to support your spine and activate your core muscles when sitting.  These are available in our practice to purchase.

5. Separate your keyboard from your screen

It’s simply impossible to have good posture while working at laptop.  Either use a desktop or add a separate keyboard to your laptop so you can elevate the screen while keeping the keyboard at hand level.  If you have to use a laptop, take extra breaks to correct your posture.

6. Take regular breaks – Straighten Up App

 In a typical work environment, people will get out of the chair often during the day to talk to a colleague.  Depending on your home environment, you may not necessarily have these cues to move.  Commit yourself to getting out of your chair at least every 30 minutes to move and do a few stretches.  The Straighten Up App is a great guide for some useful exercises.

7. Breathe fresh air

 Spend the time you would normally take travelling to work to go for a walk or perform some form of exercise.  If you are still permitted to leave your house under COVID-19 restrictions then go for a walk, being sure to observe social distancing.  Use the Just Start Walking App to monitor your walking progress.

8. Begin and end your day with a ritual

A cup of tea or coffee to start the day and walking the dog at the end of the day.  Whatever ritual works for you, anchor into it.

9. Get your spine sorted

During current restrictions, the Australian Government is encouraging Allied Health to remain open to the public.  If you’re in need of the chiropractic touch, we’re here to help.  Rest assured we have put appropriate hygiene and social distancing protocols in place.

Of course, you’ll have to wait and quarantine yourself for 14 days if you:

  • Are a confirmed COVID-19 case
  • Have been in contract with a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 case
  • Show cold or flu symptoms
  • Have returned from overseas travel

10. Take advantage of the perks

For all the negativity, chances are you can find something to be grateful for during these difficult times.  Use this opportunity to enjoy experiences that might not be so easy with your typical work routine.  Bake some bread at home, read an inspiring book or practise daily yoga or meditation.  Because one thing is for sure, “This too shall pass.”