Is Your Home Office Set Up Good for Your Health?
When lockdowns first started, it’s likely “work from home” actually meant “work from couch,” “work from dining room table,” or “work from bed.” As the permanence of WFH really hit us, many began setting up their designated work spaces to keep productivity up and focus on. While not everyone is fortunate enough to have a home office, unique solutions to work from home (with some semblance of a regular office) have sprung up around the world. Whatever your solution has been, is it one that is also beneficial for your mind and body, not just for your job?
Is your set up good for your posture?
Prolonged hours on the computer in the wrong position can have detrimental effects on your spine and posture, which can result in other health issues. Looking down at your device also adds increased weight and stress to your neck and the wrong chair can produce some slouchy results. Some simple (and creative) adjustments might be needed to achieve a more optimal desk set up. Don’t have a desktop or laptop stand? Big books or boxes do the trick.
Are you taking enough breaks?
We all know how it goes. You get so focused on a project or finishing up a report that you forget you are a human being that has earthly needs. It happens, but taking breaks is not only good for your posture and body, it also helps the mind reset. Try walking around or stretching every hour or so (set a reminder on your phone if you have to). Grab a healthy snack. Remember to drink water. Give your eyes a rest. Go outside and sit in the sun for a few minutes. While it can be easy to get distracted at home, not taking breaks at all probably won’t actually help you get more work done. It has been found that mini-breaks throughout the work day actually increase productivity.
Do you know when it’s time to shut it off?
One of the major benefits of working at an office is the separation between life and job. While there are the occasional projects that follow you home for a night or the weekend, typically going home means a break from work. This is you-time, family-time, friends-time; the time to work out, cook dinner, watch a movie, and unwind from your day. Yet, it feels like this line is more blurred when we work from home. When your office is your computer, it’s easy to always feel like you should be checking in or working on something. What’s the harm in checking your email while the spaghetti is boiling? Well when you never get a chance to disconnect, burnout might hit sooner than you expect.
While there are obviously limitations to working at home and figuring out your office space, it is also important to think of the long-term effects of this WFH period. It’s nicer to think all will go back to normal in no time, but 1-2 years slumped over your laptop on the couch could still have any negative impacts on your health in the long run. Your self-care is just as important finishing that end-of-year report.