More of us than ever now work from home in some capacity, but it’s a relatively new thing and we’re all learning as we go. One particular thing to be aware of as a home based worker is how it can impact your health—while research shows that those of us working from home tend to be happier and have less sick days, there can be drawbacks in other areas. Here are five rules to live by.
Keep your environment clean and organised
Keeping your home clean and organised can be fairly easy when your job is at a standard workplace—as when you’re not at home for much of the day, you can clean it and it will stay that way. When you work from home, you’re using this space much more and it can get messy. and cluttered much more easily. Staying organised keeps you in control, ensures you stay productive and on top of things. The last thing you want is to be running around like a headless chicken because you can't find what you’re looking for.
Our homes might feel like the safest places in the world, but there are lots of ways they can be bad for health—and it’s especially worth bearing in mind when your home is also your workplace as you’re there for most of the day. Keep it clean and tidy to avoid contamination, open windows to remove build ups of toxins and pollutants. Things like cooking, heating, candles, cleaning products and more can all release fumes that are bad for health which can accumulate over time. Open windows, use an extractor fan, and wash things like soft furnishings to get rid of nasties. Steamaster products can kill bacteria on things like carpets and rugs which are known to be hotspots for dirt and germs. It makes sense for all of us to keep our homes clean and tidy, but especially so when your home is also your work.
Take regular breaks
Many people working from home work for themselves. It could be running a home business, blogging, or freelancing. While being your own boss is great, the downside is that you aren’t guaranteed a wage—your earnings can fluctuate and you need to do more than just sit at your desk to get paid. For this reason, it’s easy for home-based workers to become workaholics; you end up putting in the extra hours because you want (or need) to be earning that extra cash. The problem comes when hours and hours pass by and you’ve not moved from your desk. This can be bad for your eyesight, your posture, and your overall physique, taking regular breaks is important.
Get some exercise
Combine taking breaks with activity—how about going to the gym or walking your dog midday? That way you get to burn some calories and clear your mind of work while strengthening your body and giving your brain a boost. At the very least, take breaks from your computer to move around and stretch but get your heart rate up if you can. Home-based work tends to be sedentary, so regular exercise can help to balance things out a little.
When you work away from the home, it becomes habit to put together a packed lunch. This saves you time and money compared with having to leave the premises every day, and research has actually shown that eating the same lunch each day at work can reduce stress. However, when you’re working from home, there's a lot less structure.
It’s easy to find yourself picking out of the fridge, making endless cups of tea with biscuits just because you can, and generally not sticking to a good routine. If you find it easier, meal prep during the weekend and keep things like pasta salad, rice, and other make ahead lunches in Tupperware in the fridge. Fill your home with healthy snacks like fruit and yogurt and stop buying naughty treats if you find you can’t stop eating them!
Find the work/ life balance
Finding the balance between work and life can be hard when your home is also your work. For this reason, it’s important to set boundaries. Decide which times of the day you’ll be working and stick to them. Having flexibility is a bonus and you always have the option to move your days around as needed—but for the most part, staying in a routine will help you to be as productive as possible.
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