It’s now been a few months since the UK has been in some form of lockdown, and most of us who are still working have turned our kitchen table or sofa into a makeshift office space. As the novelty of not having to commute or pack Tupperware lunches has worn off, it’s important to consider the longer-term implications of our new WFH lifestyle on our health and happiness.
From setting clear boundaries between work and life, being mindful of screen time and ensuring we stay active throughout even the busiest of workdays, here are five simple tips for health and happiness to incorporate into your work week.
1. Consider a makeshift standing desk.
Sitting down and getting stuck into work is great, but have you ever tried standing? And no, you don’t have to invest in a standing desk for this: simply find a few boxes or books and stack them on one end of your kitchen or dining table and commit to using this workspace for at least part of the day. Tip: if you struggle with afternoon fatigue, try to work standing for the hour following your lunch — you’ll notice a big difference in your energy and digestion.
2. Build movement into your day.
You don’t need to do a full workout to maintain a healthy dose of movement in your day. Because we’re no longer commuting, stepping out for lunch or walking around the office, we’re missing out on several opportunities each day to organically incorporate movement into our desk-bound lives. Try setting yourself easy goals, such as doing 20 squats when the clock hits the start of each hour during the day. Another way to do this is to take all phone calls pacing around the house, or only checking Whatsapp when you’re standing up.
3. Plan mealtimes and snack times and stick to them.
Working at home can mean a temptation to snack throughout the day, especially if you’re working close to, or even in the kitchen. While it’s always important to listen to your body and eat when you’re hungry, try to keep a normal routine by planning out your three main meals and snack of the day and sticking to them. This way, you’ll be less inclined to nibble on junk food throughout the day as you’ll know when your next meal or snack is, and have something delicious to look forward to.
4. Develop rituals to mark the start and end of the work day.
Working from home doesn’t mean working 24/7, and it’s not always easy to stick to strict start and finish times. Consider implementing rituals to begin and end the day so you know when to switch on and switch off. It could start with brewing a coffee to ease yourself into the day, and packing up your work kit entirely when the day is done. Another idea is to get dressed for the work day in time for your first morning meeting, and to change into trackies when you’re done!
5. Keep an eye on your posture.
It’s easy to get slumpy and slouchy while working at home, especially if you’re in a comfy chair or on the couch. Try to spend at least half of the day in an ergonomic chair of some kind – even if that is just one of the dining table chairs with an ergonomic support strapped to it. You could also set a few alarms sprinkled throughout the day to mark ‘posture check in’ moments, when you consciously correct the way you’re sitting or get up and walk around for a few seconds before sitting back down afresh.
What are some of your favourite ways to stay healthy while working from home? Let us know in the comments below!