In recent years, working from home has become an increasingly common reality. Originally a temporary measure, many employees are now looking at it as a new work reality. Here are some tips on how to work from home and stay healthy, both physically and mentally.
Take care of your physical health
To prevent musculoskeletal problems, your workstation should be designed and adjusted so that you can work in a neutral, comfortable and natural position. This means the position that puts the least amount of strain on your joints, muscles and tendons. An adjustable ergonomic chair is a great investment if you plan to work from home often.
Also, staying in the same position for long periods of time is a major risk factor. Get up often, walk, move around!
A headset is also necessary and recommended for video and phone meetings. It will help you avoid painful contortions, especially in your neck.
Lastly, prevent eye strain by using the 20-20-20 method. This simple and proven method consists of stopping every 20 minutes to look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds.1 You’ll quickly become an expert at noticing details in your far-off surroundings.
Take care of your mental health
Even if you’re at home, it’s important to set a reasonable work schedule and stick to it, except in very rare cases. Alternate work and mini-breaks with a set schedule as much as possible.
Develop and maintain personal contacts through team meetings and formal and informal gatherings. If respectful of others, humour is welcome, especially if you are working from home due to an illness or a pandemic.
Natural light also has a big impact on mental health. If possible, take advantage of natural light from a window. From an ergonomics standpoint, install your screen perpendicular to the window so that the entering light doesn’t interfere with your reading.
Lastly, aim for balance to avoid hyperconnectivity. This form of screen addiction presents certain mental health risks. Recognizable warning signs are often related to social withdrawal, obsession with performance, sleep disorders, loss of bearings, and work being perceived as the sole source of validation.
Hyperconnectivity also leads to physical problems, such as tension in the neck, thumbs and the whole body.2
Finally, if working from home becomes a source of anxiety, take advantage of employee assistance programs offered by your employer or public resources set up by your government.
Enjoy working from home
1 Association des cadres des collèges du Québec