How many times have you wondered how to ensure digital wellbeing when working remotely?
Maybe you haven’t; It’s a fairly new concept, but one that has grown more and more important as an increasing number of people work from home - another consequence of COVID that looks like it’s the “new normal”.
It’s not just marketing and sales - suddenly, workers across all sorts of sectors have been thrust headlong into a world of Zoom meetings, jenga-inspired desks, and cats-on-keyboards. Dress code: pajamas.
Many people like working from home, but it’s a strange working environment that relies on our personal computers for access to the workplace. It requires good habits if we’re to stay focused on what we’re supposed to be doing.
That, in a nutshell, is digital wellbeing.
If you’re looking for tips to improve your relationship with the technology you use as a teleworker, then read on!
It is imperative to be able to separate your work and home life. Your sofa may be really comfy but after three hours at work, your bones might say otherwise.
You may also have to share the space with your partner, children, or other household members as they enjoy their downtime, or even teleworkers who are using the same four walls as their own office.
As such, it’s important that you have your own designated workspace, away from them and homely distractions - like the TV, appliances, and all your worldly possessions.
Try to have a setup with a good chair and desk, that you only use for work. That way you can stay organized during your 9-5, without it seeping into the rest of your house and impeding on your downtime.
To protect your physical health from the ailments of computer work, a decent chair is a must! Make sure that you’re sitting straight, and that your computer screen is at the right height.
When calibrating your workspace, ensure that the screen is sitting at - or ever slightly below - your eye level. You also need to have the right posture - your spine should be straight, with no hunching, twisting, or slumping, Quasimodo! Make sure your feet rest completely flat against the floor - dust off that footstool if necessary!
A strange tip given how easy it is to be distracted when working from home, but it’s vital if you don’t want to hurt your physical health.
Get up and move around regularly, and don’t stare at your screen for long periods - look away from your screen every 20 minutes and focus on something else to protect your eyes.
Remote working means that you can often find yourself sitting at your desk all day without respite - without the health benefits that come from walking to work or even those regular trips to the photocopier.
As such, it’s important to stay limber by taking breaks now and then. You should get up out of your chair regularly and follow a stretching routine that has been designed for the remote working lifestyle - like this one from Bupa.
And in your downtime, get your butt off that chair and do some exercise! Take a walk during your downtime - it’ll clear your head, provide your body the exertion it needs to focus on work once your break is over, and give you the time to even fit in a light walking-for-health routine.
When working remotely, it’s all too easy to get up just in time for coffee before you start work, and to skip meals as you try to meet your deadlines - but this routine is far from ideal.
Make sure you don’t skip meals, and keep energy levels up by having healthy snacks to hand. Some small pieces of fruit or handfuls of nuts are a great go-to in this regard - alas, that bulging cookie jar that’s giving you the eye from the other side of the room is sadly not!
Remote working can be a lonely experience, even though we have Slack or Microsoft Teams at our fingertips. Ultimately, those little interactions that we have in the lift or by the watercooler are important for us - we’re all social creatures after all!
As such, find time to reach out and chat with colleagues about non-work related subjects - something that will make everyone you work with feel better. It’s just about finding the right balance between interaction and productivity!
I know, I know, not having to join the rat race is one of the main attractions of working from home, but it forces you to develop a good routine around work - think meals, light exercise as you progress towards the office, and a nice little change of scenery.
But hear me out. Take some of the time that you used to spend commuting - up to an hour either side of your work day - and do something quiet. Go for a run, or sit in the park and read a book by yourself. This way, you can ease gently into the day and wind down after work - before the kids and dogs are back biting at your ankles.
The advice so far has been just the tip of the ice age when it comes to digital wellbeing - a new term that refers to the things we can do to improve how the technology we use makes us feel.
It’s pretty important, given that the average American dedicates nearly eight hours a day to digital media (Statista).
With this in mind, we’ve created a Digital Wellbeing Resource Hub that will teach you everything you know about developing a healthy relationship with the internet - and the digital technologies that our professional and personal lives revolve around.
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