With so many people working from home in the past year, many corporations have shifted their focus toward improving efficiency and preventing employee injuries. Since there is so much variation across home workspaces, it is important for employees working outside the office to adopt healthy habits. This will not only serve the benefit of maintaining their health, but it will also help them productively and efficiently complete their job duties. In this article, we will detail some of the key ways that employees can maintain their productivity while working outside of a standard office environment.
One of the biggest dangers of sitting is its impact on the body’s circulation. Even when we are properly seated for an extended period of time, our blood is not able to flow as readily through our body as it can when we are standing. This is most prevalent in the lower body, as sitting increases the risk of blood clots in the legs due to stagnation. In addition, decreased blood flow can weaken our muscles over time. This can also contribute to nerve compressions in the upper and lower limbs as well as swelling and loss of motion.
How to prevent it
Employees can combat the negative effects of sitting by standing to stretch. To get the full benefit of stretching, this should happen at least once for every hour they are sitting. This will loosen their muscles, keep their joints flexible, and increase circulation periodically. It is generally recommended that people stretch for 5-10 minutes every hour. It is ideal for individuals to get up and walk around, even if it’s for a short period of time. This is the best way to help increase circulation while simultaneously giving their eyes a rest from the computer screen.
If employees are really cramped for time, it is possible for them to stretch while sitting. They can start with the basics below:
- Extend their arms all the way behind them to open their chest muscles, which often tighten from sitting or slouching.
- Another good way to improve flexibility and circulation is by rolling your ankles and bending at the knees several times. This helps your legs move the blood up from your feet, where it pools when you sit for too long.
- Neck rolls or bending the neck side to side can relieve tightness in the shoulders and prevent headaches resulting from strain.
- They can also help the upper body by rolling or bending the wrists and wiggling the fingers periodically. This prevents nerve compression and poor circulation that can lead to painful symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Maintaining a good work-life balance
Working from home can be the ultimate source of convenience for some people, but it’s very easy to let your work life bleed into your home life. This is especially true if your job entails working outside of standard business office hours. Even employees with a standard 9-to-5 may have trouble not thinking of work after their day ends.
Not having a firm work-life balance can lead to mental health symptoms such as anxiety and depression as well as physical health issues such as migraines and digestive ailments. If work-life balance concerns are not addressed and continually managed, they can cause employees to experience emotional exhaustion and depersonalization. These symptoms result in employees disconnecting from the work they do, which impacts their productivity and ultimately causes burnout.
How to prevent it
Employees must first off set boundaries to prevent work from bleeding over into their home life. They can do this by dedicating a workspace that they can leave aside at the end of the day. It is also helpful to silence work notifications, if you have an email application on your phone. Practicing good time management during the work day will also help ensure you aren’t working to meet deadlines at night.
The use of lists, agendas, and planning materials can help individuals prioritize and set goals for short-term and long-term tasks that need to be completed. This helps with time management and can also ease the stress of managing many deadlines. Employees can also allot a short time during their lunch or coffee breaks for physical or mental relaxation. Taking even just a 5-minute break to meditate or clear their mind can be helpful. Some individuals may opt for physical exercise such as a short yoga practice or a 10-minute jog around the block.
Using appropriate seating
Having an appropriate, adjustable setup is a crucial supplement to stretching in its ability to enhance our body’s health. In particular, supportive seating allows our body to assume an aligned and symmetrical posture, which prevents injury and maximizes focus.
The LeanRite Elite is one of the most ergonomic seating accommodations that an employee can use to enhance their workspace and productivity. The LeanRite Elite has all the features that an employee should look for in an office seat:
- Allows for standing, perching, leaning, and sitting, which both relieves and prevents lower back pain; various positions can be assumed based on preference, discomfort, fatigue, and other day-to-day needs
- Has accessories such as an anti-slip gel footrest and a built-in electric back massager to minimize fatigue and increase comfort
- Can be readjusted easily from a chair to a stool that accommodates individuals from 5’0 to 6’4
- Offers a stable base that sets it apart from standard stools and seats
- Is recommended by ergonomists, physical therapists, and chiropractors as a chair that supports the spine in a neutral position
Trying additional equipment
In addition to a desk of the appropriate height and ergonomic seating, there are other tools (and modifications) that employees can use to safely engage in their work. Equipment that works poorly or is not properly fitted to the individual places them at risk of changes in sensation such as numbness and tingling, nerve compression, pain, swelling, and other long-term symptoms.
How to prevent it
Employees can use a range of tools to improve the ease of use of their computer workstations. A gel mouse pad to rest your wrist on can relieve pressure and stiffness in that area. Individuals can also benefit from a similar cushion below the keyboard to support the wrists as you type. If you are not able get such accessories, you can easily implement one using a rolled up washcloth.
In addition to the LeanRite Elite’s anti-fatigue mat, which can be placed under the feet to improve focus and prevent joint strain, employees can take advantage of the anti-slip footrest for added comfort.
To minimize the strain on their eyes, individuals can adjust the blue light settings on their screen. The addition of an anti-glare reflective coating directly onto the screen can also soften the harshness of computer displays.
Employees can also use curtains and blinds to control the amount of natural light in their office. Natural light can be easy on the eyes, but should be limited to an amount that does not cast a glare on the screen. If the use of natural light is not an option for you, a desk lamp behind the computer screen can offer improved visibility while preventing glare.
There are a range of options available for employees to prevent injury, improve their health, and remain productive workers. Healthy habits such as regular stretches and a firm work-life balance can assist employees in managing their stress while improving their circulation and muscle stiffness. At-home workers can also benefit from thoughtfully-placed accessories such as a wrist rest and a gel mouse pad as well as highly-adaptive and ergonomic seating such as the LeanRite Elite. With a combination of these items, employees at home can create an environment that fosters optimal productivity and well-being.