Many are now predicting that telecommuting will soon become the dominant way of work, even after the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. While this remains to be seen, remote work arrangements have indeed been on the rise in the past decade, and even more so in the past year. Today, it’s seen not just as a major perk, but an outright necessity in many contexts.
If you’re already working from home or have such an opportunity lined up, it’s important to understand that you may be sacrificing your health as well. People who work from home tend to adopt a more sedentary lifestyle or become lazy in their cleaning habits, which has several serious consequences to one’s health and wellbeing. Below are some ways to mitigate the worst of these drawbacks.
Learn to Keep Germs Out
Many of the nasty bugs and microbes inside your home come from the outside. Using reusable antimicrobial hand protectors when doing groceries, making a run at the ATM, or taking public transport will help prevent outside contaminants from making it inside your home.
When you’re already at home, similar accessories can be worn to protect yourself from contaminants. For example, wearing socks at home in your designated office space—and particularly the kind that actively neutralizes microbes—is a great way to minimize the possibility of your feet coming into direct contact with contaminated floors and surfaces.
Remember the old adage that reminds us about how an ounce of prevention is always better than a pound of cure.
Schedule Weekly Sanitation of All Frequently Touched Surfaces
Our hands have a disconcerting tendency to pick up all sorts of harmful pathogens. While the skin on our hands is normally resistant to the entry of most types of bacteria and viruses, there is a very real danger of us transferring invisible contaminants in our hands to our mouth, nose, and eyes — parts of our body that are extremely vulnerable to infection.
One way you can reduce the possibility of this happening is to simply sanitize frequently touched items and surfaces in your home. Pay special attention to computer peripherals, door and fridge handles, climate control buttons, security keypads, toilet flush handles, and faucet taps. Doing so will dramatically reduce the chances you will get a touch-transmitted illness, especially when you frequently wash your hands as well.
This is all assuming that you’re the only one that uses your home office. However, if you live with someone or if someone else frequently uses your station, you may need to sanitize daily.
Invest in Ergonomic Equipment
Even if you don’t have any repetitive stress injuries at the moment. It’s important to ensure that your workstation is adequately ergonomic for your needs. Your keyboards and mice should be comfortable to use, and your monitor and chair should be the right dimensions for your recommended typing posture. The idea is to spend a little more now on proper equipment so you won’t have to be spending a fortune at the orthopedic doctor in a couple of years or so.
Make Sure You Have Adequate Natural Lighting
If possible, try to have access to a window. Natural light is energizing and can help put you in a good mood. This may prevent some of the worst effects of cabin fever and help you get your daily dose of vitamin D, which is important for bone health and for boosting your immune system.
Get Rid of All Clutter
More clutter means more dust and more surfaces for microbes, molds, and other nasties to cling to. Unnecessary items in our home can also put undesired weight on our minds, especially if we don’t get to use them. Thus, it’s likely best to get rid of things you no longer need or want. Getting rid of everything you don’t need can also be an opportunity to make money and help others. A clearer mind and office should help you focus more on work as well.
Schedule Your Exercise
You may want to develop a mindset where keeping healthy is part and parcel of your work responsibilities. Instead of using the entirety of your work-from-home time savings on sleeping and vegging out, take some of it as an opportunity to exercise. Even something as mundane as walking your dog can result in measurable positive benefits to your health over time.
Making your home office healthier is less a matter of doing a couple of big things and more a matter of setting up systems that help you succeed and help you improve your wellbeing at the same time. Hopefully, these tips will help you keep yourself physically and mentally fit in this “new normal” of work culture. Have fun setting up your home office!