Staying Healthy and Productive as Remote Work continues

Everyone has experienced the shift to remote work differently, depending on their personal situation and preferences. Although people will weigh up the pros and cons differentlythere are certain challenges that come with remote worknamely reduced in-person social contact and a lack of physical distinction between home and workNow, with remote work continuing for many, it is important to maintain behaviours and practices that support good mental and physical health and help us stay productive 

Since the transition to remote work, employees have frequently reported finding it more difficult to delineate the line between work and home life. According to one survey, 4/5 remote employees find it hard to ‘shut-off’ after work. Given a lack of work/life balance can be a risk factor for burn-out and other negative health impacts, it can be useful to set boundaries. One example is specifying times where you do not look at your work email, allowing you to fully disconnect from work 

Additionally, embedding breaks – particularly those that involve movement – into your daily structure could help improve performance and promote general health and well-being. According to an Airtasker survey37% of remote workers thought taking regular breaks was the best way to stay productive. In addition a psychological research has found numerous benefits of doing so, including the aversion of ‘decision-fatigue’, renewed motivationcreativity, and memory consolidation.  

Our surroundings can also significantly influence our mood and productivity levels. Some have dedicated office space at homebut others may have a less ideal set-up – such as having to share limited space with others or not having proper office furniture or technologyHowever, as well as accessing any helpful support and resources which employers may offercertain steps could optimise one’s set-up and create surroundings that promote productivityFirst, setting up your work desk by a window and working in the light has been shown to improve mood. Also, the Harvard Business Review found that cluttered and untidy workspaces can worsen anxiety and our ability to focus. Thus, maintaining a clear workspace could help towards reaching goals and achieving satisfaction. 

Work gives us structure, satisfaction and much of our regular social contactIndeed, the World Health Organisation concludes that, in generalwork has a positive overall influence on our wellbeing and mental health. According to Dr Balamurali, a consultant psychiatrist80 or 90 % of our social encounters occur at workand as such, it is important to make efforts to connect with others when working from home to prevent social isolation, which could increase the risk of burn-out and depressive symptomsWhether it is through attending team virtual socials, speaking to friends/family, or virtual co-workingstaying in touch and maintaining relationships keeps us healthier and happier.  

References: 

  1. Coronavirus: How to be happier while working from home, November 2020, BBC. 
  2. Mental Health And Remote Work: Survey Reveals 80% Of Workers Would Quit Their Jobs For This, October 2020, Forbes. 
  3. 10 Ways To Set Healthy Boundaries At Work, July 2018, Forbes.