Improving health and wellbeing while working from home

22 July 2021

Improving health and wellbeing while working from home

Occupational Health Physiotherapist Jonathan Scattergood gives top tips for boosting your health and wellbeing when working from home.

Video transcript

Hello, my name is Jonathan Scattergood and I'm an Occupational Health Physiotherapist and I work for Ascenti.

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on both physical and mental wellbeing. This is all largely due to the increase in incidentally type working due to the significant shift to homework, which brings with it factors such as lack of movement, lack of interaction with colleagues and potentially lack of exercise as well outside of work.

Health is actually debated in terms of the definition, so the world health organization defines it as being 'completely absent of disease and illness', whereas others argue it is also about having the ability to be able to adapt and self-manage in the face of challenges, which I think is more fitting considering the challenges that Covid-19 has thrown our way.

What we're going to do today is offer you some top tips on how to promote both physical and mental wellbeing whilst working from home.

Tip 1: Movement

So on a normal day working in the office, we would commute to and from work, we would walk around to speak to colleagues, we might go out for lunch, and we might go to different rooms for things like meetings. Now all that involves opportunity for incidental movement even if we're driving to work there's opportunities for movement getting in and out of the car for example.

Now we're working from home a lot of that opportunity has been taken away, so we're moving much less, which is likely to be one of the biggest factors to an increase in aches and pains whilst working from home.

Set a timer on your phones or your computers to go off every 20 to 30 minutes to remind you to move. Walk up and down the stairs, do some squats, go make a drink, go to the toilet, whatever you need to do to move is useful.

Tip 2: More structured office worker exercises and stretches

Ascenti would like to invite to use our Ascenti Physio patient app. You must read the disclaimer before using this.

The app is pre-loaded with a number of easy-to-follow videos of exercises you can perform on a daily basis to prevent the onset of aches and pains.

Tip 3: Structure and routine

So, it's important we carve out a set structure and routine that we normally would have when we're working in the office. So try to start and finish at the same time that we normally would, let's have set breaks at the same time as we normally would and have a set lunch break as well. That lunch break should be taken away from your office or your workstation.

We should also get up in the morning and prepare ourselves for work, so shower, get dressed, do your hair, groom, it's all a great way to build self-esteem and kind of set your mindset on work life as opposed to home life.

Tip 4: Sleep

We all know that when we have good sleep that we feel better in ourselves, when we have poor sleep, we underperform. So some ways to promote healthy sleeping are:

  • Go to bed when you're tired.
  • Wake up at the same time every morning, so set an alarm at the same time.
  • Try to minimize the amount of caffeine intake you have throughout the day.
  • Increase the exposure to natural sunlight so recreating that commute in the morning and after work in terms of exercise or walking is a great way to do that.
  • Reduce technology in the bedroom, so no mobile phones, no TV's if possible.

Tip 5: Annual leave

It is still important we have formal breaks away from work to allow ourselves to recuperate both physically and mentally.

It can be tempting whilst working from home to save up the annual leave to when things go back to normal and there might be more opportunity for social activities, but we still need to use it now it's really really important.

So, in summary, all the tips we have given are nice and easy to implement. There's nothing there which no one shouldn't be able to do. It's about making small changes to promote a physical and mental wellbeing whilst you're working from home. If you do suffer with anything and it does persist, then please speak to your GP for further help.