Sitting is the new smoking – tips for your health when working from home

Sitting is the new smoking – tips for your health when working from home
12. August 2021

Working from home or working with colleagues in the office? We can’t decide! Both have their advantages and disadvantages. The coffee chat, the hallway conversations, the new brand design in the office and joint lunch breaks at Rosenthaler Platz definitely speak for visiting the ZUCKER.Office. On the other hand, sleeping in longer, wearing sweatpants and working flexible hours are also very tempting… The fact is: we don’t want to do without either.

As much as we love remote working, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure that working at home doesn’t take a toll on our health. After all, the AOK has found out that working from home can lead to concentration problems, exhaustion and sleep disorders. Not with us!

How many of you recognize yourself in at least one of the following moves when working from home?

  • 8 a.m.: I go to the laptop? No, laptop comes to bed with me!
  • In the evening, after working out, I quickly check my e-mails and do a bit of preparatory work.
  • Chips and chocolate next to the laptop for more motivation – at the end of the day everything is eaten.
  • Pajamas or chill outfits pass as a work look – at least until the first video meeting.
  • Meeting without cam and sound? First finish the laundry on the side.
  • Thursday, 3:30 p.m.: Time for an after-work beer! (last call is at 5 p.m.).
  • Break for lunch? Why not eat while working? After all, no one will notice…
  • Lunch break: time for a power nap!

No more of that! With the following tips, we’ll help you establish a healthy lifestyle while working from home. Always remember: You’re at work – even if you’re not in the office!

Photo: Bruno Emmanuele / Unsplash

About ergonomics

Yes, working in bed or on the sofa is very comfortable. Yes, we’ve all done it. No, it is not healthy. It’s best to set up a permanent workstation in your apartment (in a separate room if possible) that you actually use consistently. Everyone knows the temptation to take the laptop to the sofa, but your back will thank you if you resist the temptation. “NO” to sofa and bed, “GO” to desk and chair!

Tension, headaches and neck pain don’t have to be! Have you ever paid attention to exactly how you sit at your desk? Get out the set square: Ideally, your back forms a 90-degree angle to your thighs, which in turn form a 90-degree angle to your lower legs. The same goes for your upper and lower arms. As for the screen, the top edge should be aligned at eye level and a distance of about 50 cm from your body should be maintained – this corresponds to about an elbow length and possibly a bit more.

Workplace equipment aka business interior design: We recommend a separate screen for the laptop, because the latter alone cannot guarantee the recommended height of the upper edge. If we were you, we would replace the kitchen chair with an ergonomic desk chair. At best, this should be height-adjustable so that you can align yourself according to the 90-degree orientation. To mix up the wortking-from-home-game a bit, you can also consider an exercise ball in addition to the desk chair. It promotes straight posture and is fun to use – not as an alternative to the real chair, though, but as a supplement for in-between variety. What is even better than sitting? That’s right, standing! Our pro-tip: At ROOM IN A BOX you can order the so-called MonKey Desk, a sustainable desk raiser made of corrugated cardboard, with which you can convert your (non-height-adjustable) desk into a standing desk. Not only your back will be happy about ergonomic work equipment, but also your hands. What kind of mouse do you use? Did you know that choosing the right mouse can prevent illness? You can find tips and criteria in our tech blog post.

Photo: Sebastian Willius / Unsplash

Stress less

There are countless stress factors – privately and at work. Clever sayings à la “One thing at a time” as a reminder often help, but not always… Sometimes everyday life rather “makes you want to tear your hair out” or “causes an upset stomach” or we “have to grit our teeth”. Everybody knows this, but it can’t be avoided completely. Nevertheless, permanent stress can lead to health problems – worst case: burnout. In a stressful everyday life, it is important to develop individual methods to reduce stress. These can include relaxation exercises such as yoga, meditation or conscious breathing, but also learning to say “no” from time to time. In addition, there are factors that are easy to implement: plenty of daylight, fresh air and as little noise as possible. Ideally, set up your workplace so that you don’t hear the noise on the street, but still have a window with daylight nearby that gives you fresh air and thus a clear head. You can also make sure to time your online orders with Amazon and Co. so that they don’t have to be accepted during concentration work or important calls. Structured to-do lists can also help reduce stress.

It’s all about timings and routine

A fixed workplace is followed by fixed working hours. We’re big fans of flexible working hours at ZUCKER.Berlin, but a little routine still doesn’t hurt. Set an alarm clock in the morning and get up on time. This will not only help your sleep rhythm (which in turn can prevent potential sleep disorders), but also help you internalize a “normal” work routine at home. Oversleeping is no more! If you find this really difficult, make an appointment with your favorite colleagues every morning for a “wake-up call”. Then you’ll have a kind of commitment not to set your alarm to snooze mode all the time. Also, remember to take a real break. As flexible as your work schedule can be, this break should be taken. It doesn’t have to be at the same time every day, of course, but set a time period of, say, 12 to 3 p.m. when you want to have lunch. This way you are still flexible enough to participate in spontaneous meetings. We also recommend that you establish an individual routine for the end of the day. Whether it’s turning off your laptop and packing it away accompanied by a loudly pronounced “Bye until tomorrow” or a routine goodbye call with your buddy colleagues. End of work is end of work.. You’ve worked enough, tomorrow it starts all over again. Allow yourself to switch off and plan your leisure activities the day before. This not only provides motivation, but also helps you to “let work be work”. You are now no longer (remotely) reachable – unless it concerns really urgent matters, which were ideally agreed upon in advance. Being reachable in case of emergency as well as overtime are of course part of everyday work life from time to time, we all know that, but they should not take over and permanently “rob” you of free time.

Photo: Chris Curry / Unsplash

We like to move it, move it

Move it, move it, move it! It’s not just a matter of taking a walk during your lunch break or biking to the park after work, but of doing specific exercises for your back so that you don’t tense up or get into the habit of bad posture while sitting. Just as there are different working from home types, there are different back exercise types. You can find out your type through this website. Stretching never hurts either! Stretch your fingers, push through your back, loosen up your neck… Just do it!

You don’t want to get into the habit of sitting. Tip: Always fill up your water glass directly in the kitchen. As soon as it is empty, you have to get up and move a few steps to the source. On that note, here’s another reminder: Stay hydrated! When the glass runs out, actually get a refill! A timer can be very helpful as a reminder….

If going to the tap isn’t enough, we recommend small home workout sessions. Check out the ZUCKER.Blog to see how you can exercise, even when working from home. It doesn’t always have to be the fitness video on YouTube, you can also recognize finger gymnastics while typing your mail as a workout. A little fun is a must…

Food is good for you

Eat your greens! Seriously: If you like to snack between meals, we advise you to eat “healthy” snacks like vegetable sticks, nuts or fruit. But a little ZUCKER.shock every now and then is also an effective way to boost motivation and raise your spirits at the end of the day. You can find food tips on our Instagram channel, check it out! #sugarcoated

Photo: zuckerberlin

By the way, you can find out how to boost your productivity and motivation while working from home in this blog post. Take a look at the tips, maybe there’s an idea or two for experienced „homeofficers“!

A post by Laura Dörling