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Working from Home? Step away from the cake which thinks it’s a biscuit!

BY Michelle Sneyd
Health & Safety

Working from home, or “the new normal” has seen a massive increase during the COVID 19 pandemic, and seems to be here to stay, at least in the medium term.

With benefits for those who can, such as cutting down on commutes and travel expenditure, curtailing lunchtime visits to pick up the latest in disposable fashion, or that Friday tipple (just the one) before heading home for the weekend.

Of course, there are downsides to working from home.  Increases in utility bills, a permanently empty cupboard… honest, I only had the one Jaffa cake!  Social isolation and /or juggling work and family demands all can take their toll.

Assuming you have consulted with employees, completed home working assessments and provided equipment that is safe, suitable, sufficient, tested where required, and are in regular contact to ensure your team feel supported, valued and indeed loved. Have you thought about physical wellbeing?

The health risks of sedentary lifestyles are well known and documented, issues such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease. How can we all get that little more active during working hours when working from home, and temptations abound.

Because home working often lacks the formal routine of the office environment, it can be very easy to neglect the physical effects of home working, so here are some suggestions: -

Create a ‘commute’ – before starting work, go out for a brisk walk for at least 15 minutes. Take the dog a walk or your child to the local park.  Walking increases your heart rate, kickstarts your metabolism and helps relieve stress. The ideal way to start your working day.

Design a schedule – it’s very tempting to start early (and stay in your pyjamas) and to work into the late hours, between snippets of Love Island. Producing and sticking to a work schedule will help to maintain a healthy work-life balance. It will also allow time to fit home physical activity sessions into a busy schedule.

Don’t get too comfortable – set a timer or a phone as a prompt to stand up at least every hour, have a dance and stretch the entire body. Get out of the house at least once a day to take in the scenery, enjoy the sun and breathe in some fresh air.

Invest in some simple exercise equipment – for example, resistance bands take up little space and are great alternatives to heavy weights, you can find a Joe Wicks workout (other trainers are available) online that only take 10-15 minutes but will do you a world of good.

Remember, housework counts as exercise – whether you’re mowing the lawn or cleaning the carpets, changes of activity can all add up to your exercise goal.

Whatever you do to keep or get active whilst working from home keep it fun and remember that maintaining a healthy body assists with maintaining a healthy mind, reduces sickness absence and can have a positive effect on work productivity…. What’s not to like…. Right, where did I leave my Lycra shorts? 

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