Some workdays are longer than others and often you find yourself either standing or sitting or staring at a computer all day. An average working week in Ireland represent approximately 40 hours and in the past number of months our daily routines have changed. We have had to adapt our lives to a new work from home reality.
While working from home offers some advantages (greater flexibility, no more commuting), many of us have been facing challenges such as: carving out a proper workspace, sticking to a routine, new distractions, working too much or even the lack of physical exercise.
It is very tempting to start working earlier and finishing later than you would normally as you no longer lose time commuting. Working from home for some means working more hours, struggling to switch off and not taking breaks. As we spend many hours in the same position, our posture while working is very important. Many do not have a proper desk or chair and struggle sitting correctly.
Here are few posture tips very easy to implement:
- Make sure your head and torso are in a straight line.
- Use a chair supporting your lower back and use a cushion if needed to help you sit upright.
- If your chair is to high you can use a shoes box to prop your feet up.
- Keep your eyes up (you can put your laptop/screen on a pile of books to adjust its height).
- Make sure to move between sitting and standing frequently.
Many specialists recommend frequent small breaks during the day. William Davis, an Exercise Physiologist, says that “regular rest breaks are critical, making sure to get out of the chair every 30 to 45 minutes – if only briefly, to move around, stretch and change position. This will shift the strain between intervertebral discs, the spine’s shock absorbers.”
Take a few minutes away from your desk to stretch your back, arms, legs, neck and eyes which are usually the areas that become painful. Keep an eye on your posture, stretch your muscles and when taking lunch leave your workstation.
A key element of the CubeMatch Philosophy is the wellbeing of its workforce. Recently, CubeMatch staff organised a lunch and learn on Balance and Breaks, including a brainstorming session to share ideas of mental, physical, emotional, and social breaks. Here are few ideas suggested by our staff:
- For skills enhancement: training course, learning a new language or instrument, gardening, cooking, craftwork (painting, knitting…).
- For mental stimulation: reading, sudoku, quiz, chess, memory enhancing games, crosswords, puzzles or scrabble.
- For exercising or relaxation: music, yoga, dog walking, walking- running, other sports (cycling, GAA, swimming…).
At CubeMatch we believe employees should take at least 4 small breaks during the day to enhance their productivity and ensure staff feel rested and recharged.
Research has proven that taking breaks during the day has many benefits:
- Fighting fatigue
- Increasing focus
- Reducing stress
- Boosting productivity.
For an efficient break, listen to your body. When you feel tired and it is getting harder for you to focus, it is the perfect time.
To sum up: while working always make sure to : be conscious about your posture, take the time to stretch your muscles, get away from your desk and chair once in a while and have a break when you feel tired and less focused. Eating healthily, drinking plenty of water and exercising will benefit both your mental and physical health.