One of the most challenging things about working from home is trying to avoid falling into a sedentary lifestyle. People who work office jobs away from home generally need to move around not only as part of the commute but also to interact with colleagues, grab meals and so on. However, when someone works from home, they may only need to take a few steps to get to their desk or to the kitchen for lunch.
Office workers who spend most of the day seated at their desks have long been warned about the health dangers of a too-sedentary lifestyle, and as more companies make the choice to adopt remote and hybrid work models, this issue has become more prevalent than ever. Here, nine members of Forbes Coaches Council discuss how they have helped their clients (and themselves) learn how to avoid an overly sedentary lifestyle while working from home.
1. Walk While Taking Phone Calls
I have chosen to reduce the amount of videoconferencing I do. Instead, I opt to walk while taking many of my phone calls. This gets my body moving while also allowing me to listen intently to the client. – Lisa Marie Platske, Upside Thinking, Inc.
2. Use Wearable Tech To Remind Yourself To Move
Wearable tech, such as the Fitbit and Apple Watch, remind people to get up and walk away from the computer routinely. I’ve used both for several years and recommend them to clients who are tied to their desks. I also like to have a daily step goal and a weekly mileage goal that I strive to achieve. It keeps my body healthy and my mind refreshed. Clients know that if they call at 3 p.m., I’ll be on a walk. – Randy Shattuck, The Shattuck Group
3. Build In Stretch And Nutrition Breaks
Intentional design is key. With online work, I always build in stretch and nutrition breaks. Use your calendar wisely, adding in fitness and quiet time first. Host a meeting outside or a “walk and talk” if possible. Use tech to set reminders and goals for hydration, steps and exercise. Schedule time for deep work followed by movement. Find an accountability buddy, including among your clients. – Susan Murray, Clearpath Leadership
4. Create A Designated Workspace
For starters, it’s important to create a designated workspace in your home. This will help you to stay focused and avoid getting too comfortable while working. Additionally, be sure to take breaks throughout the day to move your body and get some fresh air. And finally, try to schedule regular physical activity into your week to stay active even when you’re not at work. – Peter Boolkah, The Transition Guy
5. Get Creative With Movement
Coming from a fitness background, I find getting creative with movement is key to coping with a sedentary lifestyle. Some strategies you can incorporate include setting a timer for the top of each hour as a reminder to get up and move, making sure to drink enough water (it will force you to get up and use the restroom), and setting a daily alarm to go outside for 15 minutes—these are all highly effective. – Marc Zalmanoff, Marc Zalmanoff LLC
6. Take Advantage Of Tech To Work Outside
Make certain that you get up, go for a walk and stretch. Also, buy a Bluetooth headset and make some calls while you’re outside or walking around. Take your laptop and do some work in the fresh air. Spend money on a quality desk chair, and design your office for maximum comfort. The outcome is that you are not sitting in a non-ergonomic chair for eight to ten hours a day. – Eddie Rodriguez, The Franchise Tailor
7. Change Up Your Posture And Environment
I advise clients to change up their environment and posture every ten to 20 minutes. Incorporate a stand-up desk, and invest in a posture-protective chair that supports your overall wellness. Incorporating technology to provide reminders/nudges to drink water and move is essential to not becoming complacent while working from home. – Joshua Miller, Joshua Miller
8. Tap Into The Power Of Nature
Remember the lunch hour, when you used to go out with friends or colleagues for a bite to eat? Schedule in time for a break that requires you to leave your at-home office and get outside. Walk around the block. If you can, walk in a natural setting, whether it’s through a stand of trees or by the home of a neighbor who has a magnificent garden. Nature is a natural destressor, and you’re moving! – Kim Neeson, Kim Neeson Consultancy
9. Find Ways To Gamify Exercise
While working from home, one risks inactivity. As meetings are so easy to schedule, one jumps from one virtual meeting to the next without having to get up from their seat. A solution that worked for a client of mine was to schedule time for their team members to get more movement into their routines. The client chose to gamify simple walking through a step challenge, with everyone sharing their achievements weekly during check-ins. – Thomas Lim, Singapore Public Service, SportSG