The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way many of us work and for many Australians, working from home, even for part of the week, may be the new normal. While there are many benefits (think the time and cost savings of not having to travel, and having more time in the day) there can also be some downsides, particularly when it comes to our physical and mental health. Following are some tips to stay healthy while enjoying the benefits of working from home.
- Set a routine and structure for your work day to help create boundaries between work time and home time and to help you switch off from work at the end of the day. Try to have a regular start and finish time and remember to schedule in breaks.
- If possible, set up a specific place in your house to work and avoid working in your bedroom, which can interfere with sleep.
- Try to get outside at least once per day to get some fresh air and sunshine.
- Make sure you have a safe workstation set-up including a comfortable chair. Download a free guide from Safe Work Australia to help you set up your home workstation in a way that is safe, comfortable and easy to use. You could also ask your employer about organising a virtual workstation assessment.
- Take regular movement breaks. Try to get up from your desk at least once every hour. Do a few stretches, get outside for a few minutes or go for a short walk.
- Stay connected with your co-workers and manager by scheduling regular phone or videoconference meetings. This can help you to feel less isolated, reduce stress levels and help you to stay productive.
- Schedule time for lunch and use the opportunity of working from home to prepare and enjoy a healthy meal. If other members of your household are working from home, try to take a break and enjoy lunch together. Or consider scheduling a ‘virtual lunch’ with colleagues and use this as a chance to catch up.
- Stock up on healthy snacks and avoid mindless snacking. When working from home it can be easy to head to the kitchen every time you feel like a break from work. Instead, think about other things you can do to break up your day, such as heading outside, doing a few stretches or a short workout, or enjoying a cup of tea or herbal tea. If you are hungry, make sure you have a good supply of healthy snacks such as fruit, nuts, roasted chickpeas, yoghurt, wholegrain crackers or hummus with carrots or celery.
- Build in regular exercise. Use the extra time you have in the morning or evening due to not having to travel, or if you have the flexibility, make time for an exercise break during the day.
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