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How To Stay Active When You Work From Home | Employee Health

Kate Williams

4 April 2021

7 min read

The Alarm rang with all its might, and I hit the snooze button once again, for the 100th time in a row. Rubbing my eyes groggily, I glanced at the time – 10:25 AM.

“Wait a minute. Don’t I have a Zoom meeting at 10:30 AM?” I realized I had woken up late again.

In a sleep-induced haze, I rolled out of my cozy bed and plopped myself in front of the laptop, just in the nick of time to join the daily scrum meeting on Zoom. 

Even though your Work from Home Routine may not be as extreme as this, remote working has made us all slightly lethargic. Work from home poses many challenges: Extended duration of working beyond the usual 9 to 5 timing, along with excessive sitting and limited movement, affects your metabolism, blood pressure levels and leads to weight gain. Employee Health, which encompasses physical and mental health, is of paramount importance and creating a holistic approach to Employee Health is the only way forward.

Encouraging Better Employee Health

Working from home has its many perks- gone are the days of rush traffic and a long commute. That extra time can now be spent with family. But soon, we found out that remote working also had a downside- A sedentary lifestyle. But surely, since we have more time now, can we not use that extra time for exercise.

But truth be told, we discovered that was not the case. Employees found themselves working beyond their regular hours of work, blurring the line between work and home. In between Zoom meetings, client calls, reports, and Presentations, we sat in the same position for hours, working endlessly“A New year. A healthier me”. These were New Year Resolutions many of us made for 2021. One of the best ways to fulfill this resolution is by staying active, even while working from home. 

While working from the office, we had to go outside every day and commute to work. It may have involved a walk to the office or the nearest bus stop. Many of us might have utilized our workplace’s onsite gym or exercise classes as a means of staying active. While at the office, there were the occasional visits to the pantry for a coffee break, crowding around the watercooler for your daily dose of gossip, and scuffling between conference rooms for meetings that afforded us some scope for movement.

Now confined within our homes, we sit in the same position without moving an inch. We keep thinking of changing, but we are stuck in a vicious cycle of the desire to improve yet not being able to let go of those bad habits. So if you want to finally change things and get your act together, read on! Here are some ways of staying active, even while working from home!

Walking: A great way to boost Employee Health

It’s a great way to get moving- whether outside or inside the house, walking is known to boost creativity levels. It needs no special equipment at all and can expand/contract to fit your time. How many steps do you need to take for all that walking to benefit you? Ten thousand steps a day is the ideal count. So strap on a Fitbit and get moving. Try sneaking in some extra steps while you connect with your colleagues during conference meetings.

Make your workspace uncomfortable.

It may sound counter-intuitive since we all focus on convenience and comfort, but placing everything you need in front of you is a surefire way to remain in one position idle. Alter the physical set up of your workspace- For starters, Don’t keep a water bottle nearby; make sure you have to go into another room to fetch it. Place your phone charger far away from your desk so that you will have to stretch while reaching for it.

They say sitting is the new smoking. Sitting for prolonged duration results in back pain and poor posture. Set reminders on your phone that will help you to move up and around. Better still, invest in a standing desk that enables you to alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day to enjoy a productivity boost.

Desk exercises take only a few minutes

If moving away from your desk seems like a herculean task, take small breaks in between to do some simple desk exercises to release the tension. All you need is your desk and a chair! Arm pulses, Desk Push-ups, and wall push-ups target the upper body while the chair squats, calf raises, and wall-sits focus on toning your lower body. Another easy way to keep your legs active would be by using mini-cycle pedals that can fit beneath your desk.

That way, you can focus on your work while ensuring workplace wellbeing. Are you feeling stiff from sitting for too long? Stretching relieves joint pains and aches, helping you fight fatigue- An upper back stretch, torso twists, and shoulder stretches are proven to relieve stress.

Online fitness classes- The best way to keep fit at home

Since the gyms are closed and not entirely safe to go there, why not join an online class? Live classes are a great way to get an interactive session with the trainer leading it in real-time. Live classes also promote accountability to show up and take part daily. So we would think twice before skipping it.

Employee Health has never been this important- Realizing that a healthy body equals a healthy mind, various organizations have placed Employee Health at the forefront by providing reimbursements for memberships to workout streaming services.

Set a scheduled time for exercise

Workplace wellbeing is crucial to achieving a productive outcome. Treat your exercise the same way you would treat project deadlines- Set a scheduled time for daily exercise in your calendar. It’s all too easy to remind yourself of staying active, but that won’t happen unless you block out a specified time every day dedicated solely to exercise. Habits don’t happen accidentally but are a result of our conscious efforts. 

It’s really easy to lose track of time when you are working hard on a report, but setting a routine with specified times of waking up and going to sleep, will help you develop a healthy routine.

Take a well-deserved break

Give yourself breaks between your work schedules- these breaks are essential as it gives you time to stretch and move around. Apart from doing desk exercises, calm your mind with meditation techniques. A great way to optimize your work- break routine would be following the Pomerado technique. Set a timer for 25 minutes to work on a task, then take a break for 5 minutes. This constitutes one segment of the Pomerado.

Repeat this for four more segments, following which take a more extended break lasting 15 minutes. During these short breaks, you can do on the spot exercises and incorporate movements in your daily life. Keep workout equipment like dumbbells and resistance bands near your workspace that you can reach out for during these short breaks.

Do some Spring Cleaning 

Tidying up may sound dull and boring, but you would want your surroundings to be as neat as possible since you are working from home. Declutter your workspace and clean your home. A clean house equals a clear mind. Besides, Cleaning is a great way to keep fit at home. Take your mop for a waltz around your living room! Mopping can help you burn 240 calories per hour, which has the same cardio benefits as a brisk walk around a park.

Consider it as a work from home exercise during short breaks. It also has the dual benefit of keeping your home spick and span.

What can organizations do to maintain Employee Health?

The pandemic saw a mass migration from an office setup to remote working at home. Many Organisations have successfully handled this by adopting various work from home strategies. Since employees are not working in a traditional work setup, they would be bound to miss their coworkers and the active lifestyle they had led before.

Employee Health comprises both physical and mental health. Organizations have invested in various ways to promote employee engagement by community building. Frequent Virtual meetings allow employees to catch up on the latest news, socialize and minimize those feelings of isolation associated with remote working. Virtual team activities and quizzes through slack have a positive effect on Employee Health.

Sharing periodic surveys to know how Employees are dealing with the current work-from-home setup is another way by which you can show you care about them. Through SurveySparrow’s employee satisfaction surveys, you can understand just how happy they are at work and gain feedback on Employee Health. Easily Customizable, shareable, and employee satisfaction surveys and employee engagement surveys would be perfect as anonymous surveys give them the freedom to freely express their opinions.

Never stop Learning

One of the benefits of work from home is all that extra time available, all thanks to skipping the daily commute. Employees can well use this spare time to learn and upgrade their skills. Many companies, such as Accenture, have invested in online learning platforms for their employees to upskill in accordance with their career goals. Encouraging Learning is an excellent investment in Employee Health as it keeps their minds occupied.

Emerging technologies like AI, Robotics, and Data Analytics are all the rage now. By investing in Learning programs, organizations prove that they genuinely care about employee wellbeing and professional development. Apart from professional courses, various other courses teach how to play musical instruments and practice mindfulness.

Engaging in non-work related courses can be great stress relievers for them, further contributing to better Employee health.

Invest in Health and Wellness 

HR has a crucial role in promoting remote work wellness as a part of improving Employee Health. Awareness of healthy practices can create a huge difference.

HR could share resources with employees on how to make healthy workspaces within their homes. For instance, Lower back pain is one of the significant issues employees face, mainly due to poor posture. HR should advise employees and provide a useful guide on sitting workstation ergonomics.

Choosing a comfortable chair that supports your spine and placing it an arm’s length away from the monitor are all critical factors in office ergonomics. Proper ergonomics are crucial elements of Employee Health. Employers should keep in mind that Social interactions are equally vital for employee health, so HR could host virtual happy hours to build camaraderie.

Online surveys like Wellness Surveys and Employee pulse surveys can routinely enable you to take a pulse check on your team’s wellness. Consider SurveySparrow’s Employee pulse surveys, for instance. You could include open-ended questions about their workspace and get ideas for how you can help them improve their workspace arrangements.

Certain Employee perks could also keep them upbeat during these times: Subsidized insurance plans, gift cards, and more.

Wrapping Up

You may be looking to keep fit at home by embracing a more active lifestyle. Perhaps you are an employer who wants to improve employee health and provide them with much-needed support during these difficult times. Regardless, you will find that staying active while working from home can do wonders for Employee Health.

Try introducing small changes in your routine with daily exercise and increased activity-You will begin to notice a considerable improvement in job performance, better sleep, and employee wellbeing. Setting up a detailed schedule and sticking to it is the best way to ensure a good work-life balance.


Kate Williams

Content Marketer at SurveySparrow

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