We’re moving into a new economy.
More gig-based. More flex-based. More home-based. As we evolve as human beings, the ways we work, create, produce and collaborate also need to change. Many modern workplaces haven’t caught up (and most schools haven’t either but that’s another topic for another post). Working from home can be extremely rewarding when done right.
If you have a job that lets you work remotely or from home, or you work for yourself and have a home office, you’re one of the lucky ones. But, many people think working from home is an impossible reality, not just because their boss would never allow it, but because they can’t imagine getting anything done.
I’m here to tell you it’s not impossible and in fact, it’s optimal.
Traditional office work can be very detrimental to your health and wellbeing. A recent Business Insider article points out 24 ways an office job can destroy your health including the dangers of:
- Sitting all day
- Skipping breakfast and eating fast foods
- Breathing in recirculated, toxic air
- Not getting enough sunlight
- Germs, germs, germs
- Working for a bad boss
When you work from home or remotely, you can avoid these dangerous pitfalls, live healthier, and be more productive all at the same time.
Here are 7 Ways to Make Working from Home Work that addresses each of the above dangers:
1. Get ergonomically correct seating for your body and move as much as possible. Some offices won’t invest in your health and ergonomics by buying you a special chair or desk that fits your body. At home, you can create the perfect desk and chair arrangement for when you have to sit. You also have the freedom to get up the recommended 2 times every hour, for at least 2 minutes, to get your blood and energy flowing. Go grab the laundry and fold it. Step outside and walk around the block. Clean the bathroom toilet. You can bang out some household chores while serving your body well and take the necessary breaks from sitting on your ass all day.
2. Make delicious and nourishing food. Your kitchen and all the ingredients you need are at the ready. You don’t have to skip a meal because you’re running late. You can also wait to eat breakfast if that’s how you roll. I like to get up, work a little, and move around before I eat. You can eat on the schedule that works best for you and make healthy foods whose ingredients you can say and understand, rather than relying on what the office cafeteria has made or what conveniently comes in a bag out of a fast food window.
3. Fill a typical commute time with other things. Imagine how much more work you could do during the 1-2 hours you’d normally be commuting? Or how about using some of that time to take a walk, go to the gym, do some gardening, or read some of your favorite novel? The bottom line is you can use that time to do whatever helps you live a better, balanced life. If you fill your would-be commute time with work, you can shave off the number of working hours in your day or crank out more work when you need to without going dead inside from all the hours behind the wheel and desk. Ahhh. Aren’t you feeling more productive already?
4. Get fresh air. At home you can open your windows and breathe in fresh air. You can walk outside during a break, walk and work, and can control your inner air environment because it’s your inner air environment, not that of a corporation in a building with closed windows, recirculated air, and potentially toxic machines and air systems. Breathe easy.
5. Get some sun. We need, I mean NEED sun to survive. Like water and air, sun is essential to your existence and wellbeing. Natural light regulates vitamin D, serotonin, and melatonin production. Sunlight also boosts your mood and helps you combat stress. Yes and yes. More of that! Imagine a normal day for many workers: you get up when it’s dark and drive to the office or another type of building, sit or work in artificial light all day, and leave when the sun’s gone down. When you work from home, you can sit by a window with natural light, and take sun breaks outside whenever you can.
6. Clean your house. When you work from home you can work in a healthier environment that you control. Clean and dust with all natural cleaners. Air out your rooms. Disinfect when someone in the family is sick. The fewer people we work around means the less nasty germs we pass around. If you’re sick, you won’t get your team sick, and can still work in your pajamas with a compress on your head, if you’re well enough for that, when you work from home.
7. Be your own boss. The stress of working for a horrible boss or someone you don’t align with or respect can make your life miserable. Not all work-from-homers are self-employed but certainly, most self-employed people have the benefit of working from home. Business ownership and entrepreneurship aren’t for everyone, but if you have this goal there are many resources to help you learn and manage the parts of running a business you don’t know how to do. Get free consulting and support from a local Small Business Development Center or SCORE office. Do research online, get the right technology in place, and hire the right people to handle areas you don’t have expertise in, like, accounting or website SEO.
If you decide to go down the business owner path, make sure you have a dedicated workspace in your home. At the end of your workday, you can close shop and keep most of your home office stuff put away in your very own self-designed, inspiring, healthy, clean, and light-filled space just a few seconds commute away.
Do you work from home? Are there any tips you’d like to share on how you make working from home, work for you? Please leave any questions or comments below. Ok, time for me to go and take a walk around the block for some fresh air and sunshine!