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July 18, 2022

6 Ways for Remote Workers to Stay Focused and Healthy

Written by Chiara Espero, HJ-PR Intern

With the emergence of a global health crisis, now more than ever employees are working remotely rather than in a typical office setting. This gives people the freedom and flexibility to work from anywhere worldwide. While remote jobs offer these positive benefits and are shown to increase productivity, employees are still susceptible to distractions and a sedentary lifestyle. 

  In a 2016 national CareerBuilder study revealing the most common productivity killers in the workplace, 55% of respondents cited cell phone use/texting as the top distraction. Additionally, in a 2021 Joblist Study that surveyed 1,000 remote workers across the U.S. about the impact of working remotely, 53.1% of respondents believed working from home made it more difficult to separate their work and non-work life, leading to a new array of distractions that could disrupt productivity. The top 3 distractions from this study were watching TV (16.6%), cooking (14.5%), and running errands (14.3%). 

Distractions are not the only thing affecting remote workers. In a 2021 Stanford survey that sampled 1,700 individuals on the impacts of Covid-19, ​​studies found that individuals who complete more work from home report increased time per day spent sitting. According to a study from the National Library of Medicine, sedentary behavior is associated with increased risk for type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and premature mortality. Thus, it is imperative for remote workers to incorporate healthy habits into their lifestyles in order to stay focused and physically functional. 

Here are 6 ways to increase productivity at work and maintain healthy habits as a remote worker: 

1. Schedule Phone Breaks 

Avoiding using your phone can be a tough task, especially when you work in creative fields like public relations or social media management. Giving your brain intervals of rest will overall increase your work performance, creativity, and give your mind a chance to breathe. If you know that social media is your biggest distraction, give yourself 5-10 minutes during a break to scroll through your phone. Once you are finished, turn all unnecessary notifications off. 

2. Find an alternative work environment 

Let’s face it. It can be tough to separate work and time at home when you normally operate in your usual place of rest. If working from home is causing you more stress than it should, consider working at a local cafe, library, park, or anywhere else that has good working Wifi and charging outlets. 

Make sure to always have your laptop fully charged, your chargers on hand, and that you call a cafe location ahead of time making sure they have outlets and ample workspace. Keep in mind that if you have any scheduled zoom meetings, you may want to find a spot with little noise or none at all. 

3. Create a small home office space away from your bedroom

Finding a good office space away from your bedroom can help you separate work from rest. For example, a good place to start is working from an empty dining table or placing a desk in your living room. If you have a spare room in your house or apartment, you can also consider making that room your office space. 

If you only have your bedroom to use as an office, consider keeping that space organized and make sure to do unrelated work tasks away from your bedroom. For instance, you can eat lunch and have social media breaks in your dining room, living room, or patio. 

4. Invest in a standing desk  

Prolonged sitting causes poor back and neck posture which leads to chronic back pain. Although a standing desk won’t help with weight loss or avoid weight gain, it can help prevent shoulder, neck, and back pain. A standing desk is worth the investment if you are normally sitting for 6 to 8 hours of the day. 

5. Take a midday 15-20 min walk during your lunch break

Sometimes you run out of creative ideas sitting in the same spot and staring at the same screen all day. You might also notice your body feeling stiff. Studies show that breathing in fresh air and walking throughout the day will help you feel physically and mentally refreshed after prolonged sitting at your desk. Another fun tip you can incorporate into your work day is to set an hourly phone timer to stand up and stretch for 5 minutes. 

6. Make physical activity a PRIORITY in your daily routine 

Scheduling physical activity before or after work is beneficial to a remote work lifestyle and you can always start with baby steps. For instance, if you are just getting used to working out again, you can start by scheduling 1-hour workouts twice a week for a month and then increasing that time every month. By month three, you will notice progress in your routine and workouts. 

Nowadays, it is easier to find FREE full-body workouts on Youtube and Instagram fitness pages, to subscribe to a 3-month free trial of Peloton classes , or have the option of trialing free or discounted classes at fitness studios like AKT Fitness or Rumble Boxing. With a plethora of options, you can work your body in the same way you work your creative brain muscles!

Working remotely can either hurt or enhance your work experience. By implementing these simple, yet helpful tips into your remote lifestyle, you and your colleagues can feel more productive at work and live healthier lives. 

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