Healthy Habits for Remote Work

3 min read
22 May 2024

Take outs:

  • Establish a Routine: Maintain clear start and end times with scheduled breaks to avoid overwork and maintain work-life balance, ensuring household members respect boundaries.

  • Optimise Workspace Ergonomics: Designate a dedicated workspace away from distractions to enhance productivity and prevent postural pain issues associated with poor ergonomic setups.

  • Prioritise Social Interaction: Foster peer connections through organised activities like walks, coffee catchups, and online meetings to combat isolation and maintain a sense of team camaraderie and emotional well-being. 

Healthy Habits for Remote Work

How to succeed while maintaining optimal health and safety

Remote working has shifted the traditional 9-to-5 office culture towards a more flexible and asynchronous model. Instead of being bound to a specific location and schedule, some employees now have the freedom to work when they are most productive, which can vary from person to person.

With it comes challenges too. Take the home office setup, for instance. Companies usually splash out on fancy ergonomic gear to keep their employees comfortable and healthy. At home? Not so much. Many of us are making do with makeshift setups that leave us with bad posture, aches and pains.

Moreover, the sedentary lifestyle associated with reduced outdoor activity poses risks of metabolic diseases, while diminished social interactions in the virtual work environment may contribute to psychosocial health concerns.

In this article, we explore various tips and strategies aimed at mitigating these health and ergonomic risks associated with working from home.

To ensure optimal remote work, attention should be directed towards four key areas.

1. Establishing a Consistent Routine

2. Setting Up an Ergonomic Workstation

3. Prioritising Social Interaction

4. Incorporate Exercise and Movement

  1. Consistent Routine
Maintaining a consistent routine when working remotely is essential for several reasons. Firstly, it helps establish boundaries between work and personal life, preventing burnout and promoting mental well-being. A routine provides structure and discipline, enhancing productivity by minimizing distractions and procrastination. Additionally, consistency fosters accountability, ensuring tasks are completed efficiently and deadlines are met. A regular schedule also facilitates communication and collaboration with colleagues, as they know when to expect your availability. Overall, a consistent routine when working remotely promotes balance, productivity, and overall success in both professional and personal spheres.

2. Ergonomic Workstation

Creating an ergonomic workstation when working remotely is crucial for maintaining physical health, productivity, and overall well-being. An ergonomic setup minimises the risk of repetitive strain injuries, back pain, and discomfort associated with prolonged sitting. Proper ergonomics promote good posture, reducing the strain on muscles and joints and preventing long-term musculoskeletal issues. An ergonomic workstation also enhances productivity by reducing fatigue and increasing comfort, allowing for longer periods of focused work.

Moreover, prioritising ergonomics demonstrates a commitment to employee health and safety, fostering morale and job satisfaction. Overall, investing in an ergonomic workstation when working remotely is essential for promoting health, productivity, and overall workplace satisfaction.

3. Social Interaction

Everyone that has worked in an office knows it can be disruptive having people constantly stopping at your desk and chatting or saying hello. Humans are tribal animals, and these interactions at lunch or around the proverbial water cooler are very important for our emotional health.

The importance of social interaction when working remotely cannot be overstated. Social interaction fosters a sense of belonging, camaraderie, and connection among remote team members. It helps combat feelings of isolation and loneliness, promoting mental well-being and reducing the risk of burnout.

Regular social interactions also facilitate communication, collaboration, and teamwork, enhancing productivity and creativity. Furthermore, social interaction also allows for the exchange of ideas, knowledge sharing, and professional development opportunities, contributing to individual growth and team cohesion. Incorporating social interaction into remote work environments helps build a supportive and inclusive culture, leading to happier and more engaged employees. 

4. Exercise and Movement

One of the biggest losses when working remotely relates to our exercise routine. When working from an office you are, at the very least, moving to get to and from work and navigating the office space with colleagues. At home it’s very easy to move from the bedroom to the office and back again with limited movement throughout the day, apart from getting something to eat from the kitchen.

Employees working from home should be sure to plan regular breaks that include some form of movement and exercise. This can be as simple as going for a walk around the block, doing some meditation/mindfulness in the backyard or completing some simple stretches or yoga. As much as possible these activities should incorporate time outside, to get some much-needed sunlight and Vitamin D.