Whether you choose to work from home or there was no say in the matter, there is no denying that remote working brings many benefits. They include greater flexibility and an improved work-life balance, better productivity, and, you might think, fewer issues that would make you unwell or cause you injury.
This last point might not be entirely accurate, however. It could be that working from home is actually making you unwell or causing you pain without you even realising it. Here are some of the reasons why this might be. When you know what they are, you can watch out for the problems occurring, and you can make any necessary changes to prevent the issues if need be.
Working from home could cause a bad back
Do you find that after a long day at your desk, your back or neck is aching? If so, it could be due to the desk itself. If not the desk, it could be your chair. Perhaps it’s a combination of the two, or even the keyboard you’re using. The problem is that using anything except ergonomically designed furniture could lead to potential back and neck problems that you’ll need to rectify. If they become serious then you may need to seek expert help from specialists such as spine surgeon ispine.com.au.
It’s therefore so important to protect your spine as you work to prevent damage and pain. Ergonomic furniture is designed to support and protect the spine. It does this by ensuring you are working at the right height so your feet can rest flat on the ground and that your keyboard is located where you don’t have to bend up or down to use it. The same is true of your screen. If you’re using furniture without this design feature, or even worse, if you’re using furniture that is designed for something else, such as a bed or kitchen counter, then you might be causing your back pain yourself. Invest in some ergonomic furniture, and the difference will be notable.
When you work in an office full of other people, you’re always going to have someone to talk to. There will always be people around you. You won’t be on your own, even if you’re technically working on your own.
When you are a remote worker, however, this is clearly not the case. You will be entirely by yourself a lot of the time, and this can cause you to feel isolated and lonely. This kind of social isolation can result in mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.
To combat this issue, make sure you check in with your colleagues on a group chat or even a morning video meeting. This will help everyone and will remind you that your friends are available when you need them.
It’s also a good idea to leave the house after work; whether it’s just for a walk to the park, a trip to the shops, or just visiting friends and family. Speaking to other people and seeing them around you can be just the boost you need. Having a change of scenery after sitting at home all day can be very refreshing for the mind.
Housework isn’t always at the top of everyone’s list of priorities, and when you’re not just living in your home but working from there too, it can fall even lower down on the to-do list. Once you’re done for the day, the last thing you’ll want to do is start cleaning. And by the time the weekend comes, you’ll want to rest, and again, cleaning isn’t always completed.
The issue is that when you don’t clean, your house becomes full of germs and bacteria. Even the air is full of dust that can trigger allergies. You’ll likely become unwell. If you don’t have the time or inclination to clean the house yourself, hire someone to help you. It will be worth the money spent when you stay healthy.
Otherwise, my top tip is to do it little and often. Keep on top of things. Put things away after you have used them. Spray the kitchen side before and after preparing food. Have a hot bowl of soapy water ready to pop used dishes in to soak so they don’t crust up on the side. Pop a load of laundry on as soon as there’s enough for a load.
Another brilliant invention that will save you time and keep your home clean, especially when you are busy working, is a robot vacuum. We have one and send it round twice a day for a quick clean whilst we crack on with our work tasks.
Overwhelm and overworking
It can be really, really hard to separate work and home life when you work from home. There’s no commute and your work is always there. You can technically always be working and if you have a long list of work things to do then it can be hard to switch off and leave work alone. This can result in overwhelm and overworking, so it’s important to set yourself boundaries.
Take set days off, or set time for yourself each week to do non-work related tasks. It’s important mentally to have a break from work to recharge your batteries and to stop you reaching breaking point, especially when busy and with lots of deadlines to meet. Even a 30 minute swim or walk, away from the house and the work, can help each day to calm the mind and ease any feelings of overwhelm.