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Preventing Teleworker Health Issues

June 25, 2018 | By | 3 Replies More

teleworker health

Specific health issues are common to remote professionals. These tips will help you overcome them.

 

In Part One, we talked  about health concerns common to individuals who work from home. Among them were poor posture, constant sitting, mindless eating, eye strain, and social deprivation. Remote workers also work longer hours, get less exercise, and as a result suffer from poor sleep. Fortunately, there are some ways to combat teleworker health issues, and with a few behavioral changes you can make working remotely a very healthy lifestyle, one that proves rewarding to you mentally and physically.

 

 

Get up and move!

You don’t need an expensive gym membership to be mobile. Simply walk through the house, vacuum, stand on your head, or whatever suits you. Remembering to take these small movement breaks can be difficult at first, so set a timer to ring every 45 minutes. When the timer goes off, get up to move around for no less than five minutes. It will soon become a habit and your body will thank you.

 

 

Listen to your body

Learn proper sitting posture and get a quality ergonomic chair. Keep your keyboard and monitor at proper levels. According to Lifehacker.com contributor Whitson Gordon, in How to Ergonomically Optimize Your Workspace, an ergonomic office doesn’t have to be expensive. The very basics are your keyboard, monitor, and chair.

 

  • Monitor: “You want the point about 2 or 3 inches down from the top of the monitor casing to be at eye level. You also want the monitors to be about an arm’s length away from where you’re sitting,” writes Gordon.
  • Chair: comfortable cushion, arm rests, adjustable seat height, adjustable backrest, lumbar support, and the ability to swivel.
  • Keyboard: a sliding keyboard tray is less important if you have an adjustable seat. However, “You want your mouse and keyboard to be as close together as possible.”

 

Pack before you snack

Designate a separate meal spot so you aren’t eating at your computer. Meal planning is key to preventing impulse snack choices and avoid mindless eating. You could make a separate shopping list just for your lunch menu.

 

Keep lunch food in separate bins in the pantry and refrigerator so that you know not to dip into them when you’re off duty. And remember to plan food that will satisfy your hunger as well as increase your energy.

 

EatingWell.com offers a free, downloadable lunch cookbook to help readers make sensible lunches that won’t cost a lot, and are also simple to prepare and fun to eat. (You could even write yourself inspirational notes to slip into your lunch bag each night!)

 

 

Stick to a routine

It is critical that you make conscious decisions about when you will begin and end work each day. Doing so helps you prepare to accomplish things, and gives you boundaries. This is also helpful for others in the house to know when they should expect you to be working. Such predictability will help them respect your time.

 

One of the best ways I’ve found to set these limits is by planning my schedule the night before. If I know I will be doing some type of data entry work (terrible on the eyes) I plan an earlier break time to prevent me from getting a headache, straining my neck and back, or wanting to nap. When I know I’ll be researching, I can allow for a longer and later work time because I will be actively engaged in what I’m doing.

 

According to Pastor Jeff Randleman, “Begin by looking at all the tasks that you need to accomplish each day. If you already have a routine that you’d like to tweak or improve, begin with these three areas: tasks that you already do, tasks that you need to add, and tasks that you need to eliminate or delegate.”  (Pastor Randleman has written an excellent series called “How To Develop A Daily Routine”, which you may enjoy, available free on his website.)

 

 

Reach out and meet someone

As much as teleworkers might crave contact with other humans, a business conference call or online meeting doesn’t suffice. Interact with others on a casual basis–online and offline. Meet people for lunch, a drink, coffee, or a brainstorming session at a library. Face to face contact is crucial.

 

Get out of the house and sit in a coffee shop for one hour (yes, set limits on your time), and find at least one person to converse with. You will be amazed at how much more refreshed and productive you feel when you return to your home office.

 

 

Rest

Once a routine is established you won’t have to force yourself out of your office at 1am. Stop work when you say you will, and then pick a bedtime that’s right for you. There will no longer be a conflict when you are tired and want to sleep, because you made a clear choice to stop your work for the day and continue tomorrow. When you return to your office the following day you will feel mentally and physically rested, making you more productive and creative.

 

Takeaway

Remote work is an arrangement that can live up to its promises, if you make it that way. Resolve that you’ll make more time for yourself and improve your work-life balance. You can enjoy the benefits of lower stress levels, saving money, and work flexibility. Recognize how easy it is to hurt your health by not paying attention to the details. Plan ways to nurture yourself. And follow through with new habits to launch yourself into success.

 

 

Your Turn: What do you do, or will you now do, to make your work life more balanced and healthy?

 


Let’s talk more about this! Find me on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

 

 

 

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Category: Healthy Living, Productivity, Work-Life Balance

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Sites That Link to this Post

  1. Is Working from Home Ruining Your Health? - RemoteWork Source : RemoteWork Source | June 18, 2018
  2. Don't Let Working from Home Ruin Your Health! - RemoteWork Source : RemoteWork Source | October 3, 2015
  3. Don’t Let Working from Home Ruin Your Health! : RemoteWork Source | September 2, 2015

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