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K-State Research and Extension
123 Umberger Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506-3401

April 21, 2020

Staying Healthy While Working Remotely

Submitted by Trudy Rice

Most of us are in month two working from our remote location and as this continues it is more important than ever to make sure we are using workplace habits that keep us healthy physically, mentally, and financially no matter where we are working. This week will include tips and tricks for maintaining physical health, next week mental health, and finally financial health while working remotely.

Actually, practicing healthy workplace habits is not that much different working remotely than it is working in a formal office environment. However, the dedicated office space and working environment is different. This brings not only challenges but also opportunities to maintaining your physical health while working remotely. Here are some tips and tricks that might be useful as you examine your current work space and routine.

• Maintain good posture where you sit or stand to work. It is tempting to take the laptop to the couch or lounge chair while working remotely. While this might feel comfortable at the moment it will not promote good posture for the long haul. It is important to use a variety of settings for your workday. These include sitting, standing, and walking while practicing good posture in all settings.
• If you have peripheral devices available to you, connect an external keyboard, mouse, headphones, and a monitor to increase your comfort level and define your work space.

• Take regular breaks of 5 minutes every hour to look away from the screen and improve circulation. While at the office this is accomplished when a co-worker stops by to share an idea or ask a question. In your current environment it might be a pet wanting to play catch, a family member with a question, or if working alone, a self-imposed break to look out the window.

• Schedule lunch, breaks, stretching, walking, and processing time. While working remotely you are not as bound by the clock and formal office hours. You are in charge and need to take control of break times and when to go home. This can be accomplished by setting a phone notice, wellness app, Outlook, or a sticky note on the monitor. For processing time of an idea, consider going on a walking meeting of one person or one of your new office mates that you share your home with.

• Stock your kitchen with healthy snacks and lunch options. One person recently shared that they pack these each day and put in the refrigerator just like they did when taking them to the office.
• Stay consistent with your eating, sleeping, and exercise routine as appropriate. This routine is something that you can maintain control over in these uncertain times and it is important to maintaining physical health.

Next week we will look at some tips and tricks to maintain your mental health while working remotely.