Working from home: How to best maintain your health when working from home

Working within your own four walls has various advantages and disadvantages that can also affect your health. The following tips will help you to positively influence your wellbeing.
At first glance, the advantages of working from home seem to outweigh the disadvantages. Short commute to work, no distractions from colleagues. But those who are not properly prepared for it will soon begin to notice the disadvantages. SWICA's occupational health management team provides some ideas on how to work productively and effectively from home.

Set up your desk appropriately

An unsuitable workplace – whether at home or in the office – can lead to physical health problems in the long run. We therefore recommend that you explore all the options for setting yourself up as well as possible. For example, you can use furniture, such as a chest of drawers or an ironing board, and turn it into a standing desk. We also recommend that you change your posture regularly so as to take strain off the same areas of your body. After all, there is a reason why the “right position” is always the “next position.” An external keyboard and mouse allows you to gain distance to the laptop and to better adjust it to your requirements. A good chair and correct posture are also important: keep your knees at a 90 to 100 degree angle and make sure there are two to four finger widths between the edge of the chair to the back of your knees.

Get enough exercise

Make sure you get enough exercise when working from home:

  • Do a set of exercises once a day that include a mix of strengthening, endurance and flexibility.
  • Enter your regimen as a fixed item in your daily agenda. You can also note which exercises you will do and how often and for how long.
  • Do short exercises in between as a way of counteracting tension, for example by stretching and using your joints.
  • Think about what might get in the way of doing these exercises and find ways to not let that happen.

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Reduce your calories

Does working from home nevertheless reduce the overall amount of exercise you get? If so, try to lower your calorie intake. For example, you can choose low-energy foods (less than 200 kilocalories per 100 grams, look for the information on the packaging). Unprocessed (fresh) food usually has fewer calories and no additives. Vegetables, too, are low in calories and high in vitamins and provide plenty of fibre. Proteins are also important because they help us to maintain muscle, boost our metabolism and keep us from feeling hungry. Lean meat, fish, eggs and dairy products are always a good sources of protein.

Keep the team spirit

People tend to feel isolated when working from home. But there are ways to counteract this:

  • Meet your team regularly by using a video channel.
  • Use video to share information with team colleagues (e.g. take coffee breaks together).
  • Call team members instead of emailing them.

Dress well

Studies confirm the positive effect that clothes can have on our state of mind. It therefore helps to dress the same at home as you would for the office. Changing clothes in the morning and evening can help you to switch between being at work and being at home. Furthermore, rituals such as taking a short walk after work or tidying up your desk can help to separate your work life and private life. You may also find it easier to physically separate your desk and to use it only for work; in other words, don't take documents from the desk to the living room.

The importance of managing your time

When you plan your work (and breaks), think about when you are at your best and strike a good balance between the important aspects of being disciplined and taking care of your own needs. Consider entering your personal appointments in the calendar as well. Use a separate room for online meetings so that you and your family are undisturbed. In the team, set some rules for meeting online (e.g. start and end times, the agenda, who participates). Meet spontaneously only in exceptional cases, as this can cause stress.

Use micropauses as a way to relax

We need regular breaks to stay focused and efficient. Planning your breaks will increase your motivation and give you structure – but don’t use a break to do household chores, unless they help you to relax. Micropauses not only help you to relax, they can also energise you. Ideally you should take a micropause after an hour of concentrated work:

  • Get up, open a window and take a few deep breaths.
  • Take your eyes off the screen and close them, or turn to look into the distance.
  • And why not drink something and stretch a few times.

 

Because health is everything

SWICA's Occupational Health Management (OHM) team focuses on the physical and mental health of a company's employees. OHM helps prevent accidents and illnesses – also in coronavirus times. It offers a range of measures to support companies and employees and has compiled a list of useful working-from-home recommendations. Here you can find out more about Occupational Health Management from SWICA.

SWICA is there for you

Do you have any questions about our OHM services, or would you like to arrange a personal consultation? SWICA's OHM team would be delighted to help you online or by phone. Call free of charge on 0800 80 90 80 or complete the form below.

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Corona

For your health at home

SWICA supports you with medical services and advice around the clock and has useful recommendations and products for promoting health and preventing illness. Here you can get valuable tips on coronavirus checks at home, staying in shape while at home, and working from home. You can also discover the online courses and coaching sessions that SWICA supports.

Getting medical support and recommendations for symptoms

Staying fit and healthy at home: Tips and offers

Personal training: Why you will reach your goals more quickly

Nutrition: Tips for the immune system and offers for at home

Working from home: Setting up your workplace properly

Resilience: Strengthen your mental immune system