You might have noticed that 2020 has been a challenge in, well, all the ways. In addition to keeping yourself and your family safe from coronavirus, you’ve had to contend with murder hornets, learning how to use Zoom, an exhausting election season, and other crises of biblical proportions. You can be forgiven if exercise and wellness was not near the top of your priorities list.
With millions of Americans working from home, the very definition of the office has changed. One thing is clear: Even when the pandemic eventually subsides, some degree of remote working is here to stay. While employees might cheer the added flexibility, our collective wellness is suffering. Without daily commutes, lunch breaks, watercooler chats, walk-and-talks, and other office traditions, we’re moving around even less. Over time, this inevitably leads to higher incidences of lifestyle-related diseases and escalating health insurance claims, not to mention declining mental health.
Fortunately, by being a little proactive, you can stay happy, healthy, and productive in the workplace.
Top 10 health and fitness challenge ideas for remote workers in 2021
Get in Those Steps
Remember the days when you used to commute to the office? Well, for millions of folks, the office isn’t coming back anytime soon. If your daily commute consists of walking down the hallway to your home office, it might be time to find ways to add more steps into your day.
Can you get in 10,000 steps per day? That may sound daunting, but by taking frequent short breaks—such as walking around the neighbourhood during lunch or walking to the store instead of driving—the steps will add up fast. Try setting a smaller goal first, such as 5,000 or 7,500 steps, and work your way up. Don’t stop there—what other remote workplace fitness challenge ideas can you think of for your organization?
It might seem like we have a lot of downtimes while working from home, but with the line between work and home life more blurred than ever before, when you’re having to dangle childcare with Zoom meetings, getting a moment to yourself can seem impossible.
Studies routinely show that meditative exercises have a positive effect on our mental health, even for as little as five minutes per day. Make it a point to spend a little time each day practising deep-breathing exercises. For tips and techniques, check out the Woliba wellness library.
Cook Healthy Meals
2020 will be known as the year of Covid-19, of course. But it was also the year of take-out. With depleted grocery store shelves and the stress of working from home, Americans fired up their GrubHub and Seamless apps in record numbers. While it’s a great to support local restaurants who are struggling without in-person diners, too much takeout is hurting not just our wallets, but our health.
Why not pledge to cook healthy meals five times per week? The good news is that healthy does not have to mean difficult. At Woliba, our nutrition experts are constantly posting new and easy-to-make recipes you can try anytime, so be sure to check your news feed.
Drink Your H2O
How much water do you drink per day? Odds are, it’s not enough.
You might not think to drink water until you feel thirsty, but the problem is that you begin to experience the effects of dehydration long before that. One of the first symptoms is decreased productivity. For example, one study found that being just 3 to 4 percent dehydrated can lower your work performance by as much as 50 percent.
According to the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the typical adult male needs to drink about a gallon of water per day, which comes out to a little over 15 cups. Women need about 11.5 cups per day. How much are you drinking? When you’re holed up in your home office, it’s easy to let hours go by without sipping water. Be sure to take frequent breaks to refill your water bottle.
This might sound obvious, but sleep is one of the most critical factors effecting your physical and mental wellbeing. According to the Sleep Foundation, “45 percent of Americans say that poor or insufficient sleep affected their daily activities at least once in the past seven days.” Some 20 percent report that they didn’t wake up feeling refreshed on any of the past seven days.
Many remote workers report difficulty falling and staying asleep. This could be the result of many factors, but in a time when the boundaries between work and home life are increasingly blurred, it’s simply harder to turn your brain off. Indeed, one study found that 45 percent of remote workers work an average of 11 hours per week in their bed!
One way to improve your sleep is to have distinct bedtime rituals free from distractions, especially the blue light emitted from phones and tablets. Try to shut down your devices an hour before bedtime for the best chance at a restful night’s sleep.
It’s been an incredibly tough year, but there is always something to be grateful for. Before bedtime, try to think about one person were especially grateful for, whether it’s a friend, coworker, or family member.
Psychological research reveals that gratitude is strongly associated with increased happiness levels. Expressing gratitude towards others helps you feel more consistent positive emotions, relish good experiences, deal with adversity, build strong relationships, and even maintain a healthy immune system.
Take Frequent Brain Breaks
Studies overwhelmingly show that we are more productive while working from home, but don’t let that go to your head—literally. In recent years, advanced tech has allowed us to supercharge our workflow, but the constant deluge of Slack notifications, emails, Zoom calls, spreadsheets, decks, and more have had a major unintended consequence: burnout. That’s why taking routine breaks is so important not just for our physical and psychological health.
Whenever possible, take some time to go for a long walk, do some yoga, draw, practice deep breathing, and other brain breaks that help you stay focused on your goals while avoiding burnout.
Over the past nine months, we’ve gotten pretty good at the whole quarantine thing. No more after-work drinks, no more football games, no more big birthday parties. While social distancing is a critical component of slowing the spread of Covid-19, lack of social contact is taking its toll on our psychological health.
Don’t be a hermit. Pick up the phone and dial your closest friends. Schedule zoom happy hours. Attend social distanced events when it’s safe to do so. Never forget that we’re all in this together, and don’t be afraid to seek professional help whenever necessary.
Invest in Ergonomic Office Equipment
You’re spending a heck of a lot of time at home these days—is your furniture keeping up? From ergonomic chairs to curved keyboards to standing desks, furniture tech has advanced greatly in recent years. Those aches and pains are not just making you uncomfortable, but they’re affecting your productivity.
Your body deserves to feel at its best during the work day, so trust us, that comfy chair is worth the investment.
Honor Your Hobbies
It’s difficult to disconnect from your work computer, especially when it’s in your living room. Have you noticed that you’ve been neglecting your old hobbies in recent months? You’re not alone: Studies show that remote employees are working some 1.4 more days per month than their office-based counterparts.
All that productivity is good, but don’t let it come at the expense of your happiness. Establish a set routine that allows you to log off for the day to spend time with that unfinished novel, artwork, or that virtual cooking class. The possibilities are endless if you simply give yourself the time!
These are our top ten, but what other health and fitness challenge ideas can you think of to make working from home just a little bit more
fun and energetic?