Most individuals have worked remotely for at least a portion of their work-week amid the pandemic. At this point, you have probably gotten into the swing of telecommuting.
If you made the transition to working remotely towards the beginning of the year, you finally understand how to change your background on Zoom, your WiFi is speedy, and you might even have a consistent schedule and work-life balance in place. All of that aside, have you considered whether your work-from-home setup is prioritizing your health?
If you ever end your day with lower back pain, dry or tired eyes, and a stiff neck, you most likely do not have a healthy home office setup. Small changes can make a big difference in boosting your productivity and easing chronic pain.
Here are some of our recommendations to create a healthy home office space that will maximize your efficiency while prioritizing your mental and physical well-being:
If your job requires you to stare at a computer screen all day, it can cause significant strain on your eyes. The blue light emitted from your devices can also cause fatigue and headaches, impacting your efficiency and productivity. Prolonged exposure to blue light can even alter your melatonin levels and make it difficult to fall asleep at night.
These days, it is rare that people don’t spend at least a few hours a day looking at a digital screen, which is why we recommend investing in blue-screen or blue-light glasses. Blue-light-blocking lenses can limit your exposure and also include non-glare protection to reduce potential damage to your retina. You can also get prescription blue-light glasses from your optometrist.
However, it is also important to keep in mind that blue-light glasses are not a cure-all for your eye health. You still need to take frequent breaks away from digital screens, blink as often as you can to prevent dry eyes, and position your computer at least 20 inches away from your face and approximately five inches lower than eye level.
When was the last time you changed your air filter? Working from home means you are at home more often. Most likely, this means your air conditioner or heater is running more than usual and the added activity is dirtying your air filter quicker.
If you find yourself sneezing frequently while working from home, that means it is time to give your HVAC system a little care. Every month, make a note to change out your air filters or invest in pleated air filters which last longer.
Working in a dimly lit workspace can strain the eyes, leading to headaches, fatigue, and blurred vision. To create a healthy home office, it is best to avoid fluorescents that can trigger migraines and add standalone lamps to your desk that allow you to direct light where you need it.
If you work during the day, try to position your workspace near a window to take advantage of the natural light. Studies have found that natural light can have positive effects on your mental and physical health. By positioning your workspace near a window, you can also take advantage of a nature view. Taking a break from your screen to watch the birds and squirrels frolic outside can increase your productivity.
Want to learn more about the health benefits of nature? Check out our blog here.
If you spend a significant amount of your day seated at a desk, you need an ergonomic chair with extra lumbar support to help minimize chronic back pain. An ergonomics study found that employees who sat in a supportive chair had an increase in productivity of 17.7% and reported fewer negative symptoms.
Here is a list of some of the best ergonomic office chairs of 2020.
If you are tired of sitting in one place, you can also try an inflatable fitness ball to get a core workout while you answer emails and write reports.
While an ergonomic chair is a great addition to your workspace, a standing desk can also boost your productivity and even help you burn a few extra calories. You burn more calories standing versus sitting down, which means that standing throughout the day can help lower your risk of weight gain.
A study also found reduced blood sugar spikes in people who used standing or variable-height desks. Additional research also found that standing desks can lower your risk of heart disease, alleviate chronic back pain, reduce fatigue, and boost energy levels.
If a standing desk is not an option for your workspace, you can try a laptop stand that adjusts to allow you to stand when you want to do so or even use a stack of boxes or books to raise the height of your computer to standing level.
If you do not have the budget for an ergonomic chair or standing desk, another option for stretching your muscles and combating poor posture is to get a yoga mat. Yoga offers many health benefits and even corporate companies like Google, Forbes, and Apple, offer yoga classes to their employees.
One of the best ways to destress and decompress after 8+ hours of desk work is to practice a few yoga poses and meditate. We recommend getting a durable, non-slip yoga mat to help you keep your balance during any pose. There are also several beginner’s yoga classes and videos to try during your breaks or at lunch.
Additionally, the meditation aspect of yoga can positively impact your mental health. Meditation is becoming increasingly popular thanks to its ability to keep you calm and grounded. Need a few tips to help you get started? Download our Guide to 3 Stress-Reducing Meditation Practices You Can Do at Home.
Ultimately, the key to a healthy home office is to make the space your own. From Bluetooth speakers that play your favorite relaxing music to photographs of your loved ones, your desk should include all the things that keep you happy, comfortable, and focused.
Interested in more advice on how to make your work life healthier? Download your free copy of our infographic on how to create a healthier and more productive work environment.