Remote working and wellness - how to stay healthy

Remote working was the dream for many people just a few short years ago. Now, it’s on the way to becoming the norm. In 2018 the TUC estimated 1.5million Brits were working remotely and that number is only going to keep increasing.

It’s generally accepted that having your team work remotely can only bring benefits. The reduction in overheads can affect your bottom line clearly and quickly. The increase in productivity might be less easy to quantify in the short-term, but it’s understood that giving your team the flexibility of remote work will see them work smarter and harder.

New challenges do present themselves, though. Whilst a bricks and mortar office needs to meet health and safety standards and it’s easy for colleagues to spot when someone isn’t coping or is under the weather, these things can get missed in your remote team.

You can’t go into everyone’s kitchen to check out their set up. You’re not expected to monitor routines and eating habits. There are, however, tips and guidance that you can give to your team and touch base to check they’re keeping on top of them in your catch ups.

Here are some tips that you can share with your team to keep them in great shape in both body and mind.

Healthy mind musts

Remote work is meant to improve your mental health, right? As a general rule of thumb, releasing your employees from the grind of the office should see them feel more positive. But there’s still plenty of opportunity for someone to burnout or get overloaded. It’s easy to avoid with the right structures in place.

Routine

Freedom from the 9-5 is one of the big reasons people want to go remote. It doesn’t mean descending your work into chaos, though. Routine can be 8pm-4am or 6am-3pm, but having a schedule to work within will keep you on track to get your tasks completed. Other things to consider in your routine include:

  • Taking regular breaks at set times so you’re not craving social media every ten minutes
  • Changing scenery – leave the room, or even better get out the house
  • Listening to new sounds; turn on the radio during your break
  • Socialise outside of your colleagues regularly and talk about stuff that’s not work

Boundaries

Once there’s a routine established, it needs to be stuck to. When work happens in the kitchen or living room, it can feel like you’re always on-call. Having boundaries around your time with a routine is one element, but you also need to set physical boundaries like:

  • Device switch off times
  • Only working in certain spaces
  • Having “no work” spaces, such as the gym

Variety

Not having to go to the office is meant to take workers out of a potentially toxic space. However, if you’re just sitting in the same room in your home, every day, at the same time, it’s defeating the purpose.

You need to get away from your regular working space regularly, so taking a desk at a co-working space for a day or hitting up a local café a couple of afternoons each week will give your mind a break from the same four walls.

Keep the body moving

Adapting to remote working can feel like it’s all about technology changes, getting work done, figuring out how to get your team interacting effectively. Making sure you’re not missing out on the physicality of going to the office is just as important.

Hit the gym

Once you’re out the house and on the way to the office, it’s that little bit easier to go to the gym. It’s pretty easy to get bogged down with being at home and lose motivation to get out and hit the weight room or get some cardio done.

It’s not all about the gym; pick your workout and make sure you still stick to it. Having a Zumba or HIIT class to go to give the double whammy of routine plus exercise. Keeping your exercise routine is vital to staying healthy, even if it’s going to take more effort to stick to it.

Step forward

The amount of accidental, or incidental, exercise that you do can drastically reduce when you’re not commuting to the office. The walk to the train station, nipping across the office to chat with your colleague, strolling to the park for lunch on a nice day; they all add to your daily movement and can be easily lost when you work from home.

Make sure that you’re still moving; going for a walk around the block on your break time is easy to build into your day. It’ll be a more conscious choice to move than dashing to get the bus into the office, but it’s important to hit the recommended 10,000 steps per day.

Take a stand

Working from bed in pyjamas, surrounded by cats and snacks with a messy bun in your hair might be the dream, but it’s not the best idea in the long-run. Having a healthy workstation is important for mental and physical health and working at a bad desk can store up spinal problems for years to come.

Some things to consider about your primary work locations include:

  • Getting a standing desk can reduce chances of obesity, reduce blood sugar, and may reduce heart problems, among other benefits
  • Have natural light in your workspace will help you sleep better, which has all kinds of health benefits
  • Fresh air is another important factor in your health; go outside during your break time or open the window throughout the day

Final thoughts

Our health can be one of the first things we let go when our world starts to change. When your team is adapting to remote working, or you recruit a colleague who’s new to the concept, they’ll probably need a nudge to keep on top of their health.

During your weekly catch up or monthly briefing be sure to ask your team how they’re dealing with their health. Keeping up with their well-being is going to increase their engagement and maintain their great levels of productivity. Sharing the tips we’ve put together can give everyone a reminder to stay healthy.