Employee working from home using video conferencing on lap top

Looking after your health when working from home

Working from home and your mental and physical health

More and more of us are working from home. This has been a growing trend in recent years, greatly accelerated by the pandemic. There are plenty of perks. There’s no commute, it’s more flexible and can make for a better work-life balance. However, working from home may also impact negatively on your mental and physical health. So today we are sharing 5 tips for looking after your health and wellbeing while home working.

1. Have a routine

Keep a structure to your day by getting up at the same time and starting and finishing work at the same time, if your job allows. A regular routine has many health benefits including improved sleep and reduced stress. It also makes it easier to separate work time from personal time, which is important when you work from home.

2. Find a quiet, comfortable work space

Find a quiet place to work away from distractions like the TV and other people. Make sure you are sitting correctly to avoid any strains or back pain. Having a separate space that’s just for work, makes it easier to focus and again keeps some distance between work and personal life.

3. Take a break from the screen

Be sure to schedule regular breaks. Just as you would have a tea break in the office, you need time away from your screen at home too. Frequent shorter breaks are better than fewer longer breaks. For example, a 5-minute break every hour is better than a 20-minute break after 4 hours. Screen breaks increase concentration, while helping to avoid headaches and eye strain.

4. Keep active and eat healthily

Exercise and healthy eating are not only important for your physical health but also for your mental wellbeing. Giving you energy, reducing anxiety and boosting your mood.

You may be less active when working from home. So include at least 30 minutes of exercise in your daily routine. Perhaps a morning cycle or a walk during your lunch break.

It’s all too easy to reach for the junk food if it’s just there in the kitchen. So stock up with healthy snacks to keep you fuelled throughout the working day.

5. Stay connected

One of the main issues with working from home can be isolation and loneliness. Many people miss the buzz of a busy office. When home working, communicating with your colleagues and clients is still important. If you can’t meet in person, due to current restrictions or distance, you can use remote working technology to keep in touch. If you are struggling while working from home, share your issues with your employer.

Outside of work, stay connected to friends and family and let them know if you are feeling isolated. You can also talk to a free mental health helpline such as Breathing Space Scotland if you need someone to listen.

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