Telecommuting is the perfect position for someone that desires to work from home. You can perform your job in the comfort of your home, reducing the costs associated with working, and earning a good wage. It is very easy to be able to wake up, wash up, and stroll into your home office to start the day. However, it is very important that you keep your health in mind. Just like working in a regular office, there are 5 things that you must do to stay in optimal health while telecommuting.
- Understand ergonomics: Ergonomics is the science of body movement. It is a way that scientists can calculate how your body reacts to specific movements and how to avoid physical stress. When you work at home you should be aware of the following ergonomic recommendations for someone that works at a computer all day:
- Adjustable chair: You should have a chair that will adjust to your specific bopdy structure. The height of the chair should make it easy for you to keep your feet on the ground firm without pushing your knees too high. The back rest should be able to tilt to meet the lower back, and if the chair has arms, the arm rest should not be set any higher than waist level.
- Desk: Your desk should be at waist height. Keyboard and mouser should be set at a comfortable distance where elbows are not forced to rest directly on the desk. If possible, desk should have a keyboard tray and typing should be done at waist level.
- Monitor: Your monitor should be set far enough away to keep the glare from hurting your eyes, but close enough so you do not have to squint to read.
- Take time to move: You need to get up from your desk at least once an hour. If it is not possible to get up this often, make sure you get up and move for at least 30 minutes every 3-4 hours. This movement will help your blood to circulate, keeping you healthy. This will also help you to approach your work clear minded and feeling refreshed.
Many people that work extended hours in front of a computer can suffer from restless legs, sore lower backs, and cramped shoulders. Most of these problems can be alleviated by movement throughout the day.
- Avoid snacking: It is very easy to sit in front of a computer screen and mindlessly put food to your lips. It is also very easy to gain a lot of extra weight by doing this. You will feel much better both on and off the job if you avoid snacking at your computer. Set a time for a lunch break each day. Leave your computer and enjoy a nutritious lunch.
- Seclusion: When you are a telecommuter it is possible to go for days without interacting with anyone outside of your little office. If the other members of your immediate household have outside positions, you can spend the entire day alone. While this is not a problem for some, for many people the quiet is unnerving and they have a hard time working by themselves.
- Avoid becoming a workaholic: The first thing that someone says when they decide they want to work from home is that they want more time for family and friends. They want more time for their hobbies; they want more time to relax. Next thing you know these same people are rising before dawn and working until midnight, missing out on all the things that were the most important to them.
If you are the type of person that does not enjoy the quiet, but does want to work from home, there are things you can do to help you deal with the seclusion. The first thing that you must do is set a time every day as a break time and call someone. Pick up the phone and talk, do not email, do not text. The interaction with the voice on the other end is very comforting when you feel secluded. The next thing you must do is set a lunch date for once a week with friends and leave your office to socialize. If you set it for mid-week you give yourself 2 days to look forward to the date, 1 day to enjoy it and 2 days to think about what went on. Sounds silly, but this really helps.
It is very easy to become a workaholic when you telecommute. Knowing this, you should make the effort to avoid letting it happen. Set office hours, and if at all possible, abide by your hours each day.