Create a structure that works for you
Although tools can help improve wellness, it also takes routine and structure. Erika Zauner, CEO and founder of HealthKick, a digital corporate wellness program, suggests carving out a separate workspace at home to create that structure away from an actual office. Granted, that can be challenging, with partners, roommates, children, and pets at home. However, it is critical, she says. “Separate your workspace from your living space. This helps you make sure you are taking time for yourself, in addition to taking time for your career.” If an entirely separate space isn’t possible, at least try noise-canceling headphones that can filter out distractions without using a higher volume, reducing the impact on your hearing. Normal conversations aren’t likely to cause hearing loss. However, if you play music through headphones or earbuds, keep the volume below 70 decibels, or about 60% of maximum volume.
Zauner also suggests creating structure in the day by making time for lunch or an afternoon coffee break when you can take a short walk outside to recharge. “Making sure you spend time moving is key,” she says. For inspiration, keep track of your steps on a pedometer, fitness watch or smartphone. If competition moves you, count those steps toward a virtual step or mileage challenge with your co-workers.
Ask your employer for help
Although working remotely can feel isolating, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. Employers large and small have taken steps to help employees stay healthy and productive away from the office.
“Employers can truly step up and help proactively address stressors to support what employees need,” says Dubey.
For example, Dubey says companies are adjusting meeting times so people have time to exercise, and creating family-friendly schedules that work for parents. “Instead of a meeting starting at the top of the hour, they start 10 minutes later so parents can get their child on Zoom class that starts on the hour,” she says.
Zauner notes that when employees worked in the office, companies provided wellness initiatives like on-site gyms, company-wide fitness challenges, and healthy on-site cafeterias. Now, many employers offer their remote workforce resources such as virtual exercise classes and healthy meal deliveries.
Together, incorporating steps and strategies like these can add up, making working from home more comfortable and more sustainable for both employees and employers.
“We do know that the mind impacts the body and body impacts the mind, and either of those will impact creativity and productivity,” Dubey says. “Being intentional about solving for physical and mental well-being actually solves for a very productive workforce.”
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