New year, new you! Right?
I've been working from home for several years now. WP Buffs is an entirely distributed company, so we're all working outside of the office. It has its definite advantages. I can work sitting down, laying down, standing up or even walking. I can make time to drop by the gym, get in a few circuits, and get back home to get some more work done. I don't have to share a refrigerator with coworkers, so I can fill it with all kinds of healthy food and snacks. I can get up and stretch and it's not weird because nobody can see me anyway.
So, why is it so hard to live a healthy lifestyle if I have all of these opportunities? Because it's so easy NOT to! So, here are 5 of the most common unhealthy habits that remote workers find themselves doing and some tips on how to avoid them.
1. Grabbing junk food from the kitchen for a quick snack while you work
It's so easy. Those new Hazelnut and Chocolate Oreos are amazing, we all know it, and you just need to grab a few so that you aren't hungry during the Zoom chat that's about to start. The truth is that most of us have terrible self-control when it comes to these things. Sure, we may also have an avocado on the counter that we could eat instead, but in that moment that you run into the kitchen before the chat, which one are you likely to grab?
So, don't give yourself the choice. Don't have junk food available. Fill your kitchen with things that are healthy, and at least a little bit tasty, so that you have no choice but to grab something healthy to snack on when you need something fast. If your problem is that you keep wanting to stop yourself, but you keep buying unhealthy food, try ordering your groceries online so you're not tempted to grab something as you walk by it in the store. A lot of grocery stores allow you to order ahead online and then you just go pick up your groceries. The inconvenience of having to wait to have the groceries in hand may be a blessing in disguise because you'll just grab what's already in the kitchen when you're hungry, and hopefully those are only healthy options!
Tip 1: Fill your kitchen with only healthy food.
2. Having a video on as "background noise"
Ah, Netflix. How we love thee. Who hasn't turned on Halt and Catch Fire to just have it as "background noise?" The problem with this is that it's also distracting. No matter how good you think you are at cutting out the background noise, it's still distracting you. The same goes for podcasts, audiobooks, and even a lot of music. You're more likely to get your work done faster if you aren't distracted by something with visuals and words going on in the background, which leaves you time to maybe go out for a quick walk around your neighborhood.
Tip 2: Look for a study, concentration, or relaxation playlist on Spotify if you need background sounds.
3. Sitting. All. Day. Long.
It's been said that "Sitting is the new smoking." The sedentary lifestyle, especially at work, is one that many of us know well. Our Head Buff, Joe, in addition to trying a Pomodoro schedule, works from a standing desk. He's not the only one. A lot of other people are sharing the standing desk gospel. There are plenty of really expensive options, but you can also make your own standing desk by placing a box or a short ironing board on top of a desk, table, or couch to bring your computer up to standing height.
The benefits of this are that you can avoid ruining your posture and also shift your weight easier to avoid sore spots. So, don't let the cost of a standing desk deter you. Give it a try for a couple of hours each day and then try to work your way up to working an entire day (or more) each week from a standing position.
Tip 3: Make an inexpensive standing desk with a short ironing board on top of a table or desk.
4. Working from a coffeehouse
Starbucks is home to about 840,000 employees. 254,000 of those are people who actually work for Starbucks. The rest are all of the people who go to Starbucks to work. This is great, right? Free coffee refills for Gold Rewards members, free wifi, a cool place to hang out that isn't your home. The problem with working at Starbucks or another coffeehouse is that it encourages you to sit instead of stand and let's be honest, you probably aren't going to have a tall, black Veranda blend for a grand total of 5 calories.
If you're going to be sitting at Starbucks for several hours, you want to enjoy yourself, so you're going to go for that venti White Chocolate Mocha latté with an extra pump of White Mocha and extra whip... and do they still have some of the chocolate curls left over from the Christmas drinks? Coffee places don't usually serve fresh vegetables and hummus to go with your coffee, and even if they do, are you really going to choose that over the Pain Au Chocolat when it comes time to order?
Tip 4: Find a place that you enjoy working that isn't around unhealthy food or beverage options.
It makes sense that if you want to be productive, you need to cut yourself off from all distractions. That can also come at a price if you're also cutting yourself off from interacting with other people (in ways that aren't directly related to a project/task that you're working on) throughout the day. Human interaction provides innumerable benefits for us, both mentally and physically.
Isolating yourself from everyone during the day so that you can "focus" can contribute to feelings of depression and anxiety, which could make you less productive in the long run. Many people have found that working from a shared office or co-working space helps them to interact with people who are also there to get work done, so you're more likely to interact for short periods of time and still get your work done. It's also alright to send a few Snaps to your friends throughout the day to stave off boredom.
Tip 5: Find a co-working space in your area to interact with other remote workers.
Hopefully, these 5 tips can help you to live a happy and healthy remote working life! Just remember to stay healthy, stay active and stay connected!
Want to give your feedback or join the conversation? Add your comments 🐦 on Twitter.
Nick Adams is a web developer and Lead Happiness Buff at WP Buffs. Before working at WP Buffs, Nick had his own business, Revault Media. He is also one of the founding members of The WP Crowd podcast and blog. Nick recently moved to Rochester, NY and is a big fan of exploring Rochester and other cities.