Tips for turning telework into an opportunity
Telework is a new reality for millions of people around the world. For many, it is a new experience that can pose a danger to their health, but also a real opportunity if they acquire the right habits and follow the best advice from specialists.
Statistics show that there is a 30% increase in remote workers in industrialised countries during their confinement. It involves several risks: suffering isolation, falling into indiscipline, suffering from loneliness, encouraging sedentarism, etc. But there are also advantages to be valued: each person can design the habitat and routines that best suit their way of being and acquire or promote healthy habits.
Less depression, less risk of obesity, less alcohol and tobacco abuse
A study published in the American Journal of Health Promotion, the first to show a link between teleworking and better employee health, yielded striking data when it found that having the option to work remotely, even for a few hours a month, could reduce the risk of depression.
For researchers, working remotely, even for just a few hours each month, would have a significant impact on maintaining good mental health and well-being. The reasons they suggest: Employees may gain a welcome sense of control and flexibility and be able to spend more time in a less stressful environment.
Not only that, but the study warned that people who did not telework were at higher risk of obesity, physical inactivity, and alcohol and tobacco abuse than groups who could telework even part-time.
The key? Teleworking with discipline and healthy habits. A subsequent Harvard University study found the same. Specific cases from the Yahoo company that had to return to their jobs after teleworking were evaluated. These workers showed significant reductions in their performance and concentration. The company was advised to let these employees return home to improve their work performance and happiness.
5 Tips from SHA Wellness Clinic
Next, Dr. Bruno Ribeiro, Specialist in Psychology and responsible for the Cognitive Development and Stimulation Unit at SHA Wellness Clinic, offers five tips for the best teleworking:
Get dressed for work!
“Bathing and dressing up will not only improve your mental state but will also prepare you psychologically to start working,” says Dr. Ribeiro.
It’s a matter of following the same routine as when everyone went to work. This allows us to “prepare” our brain for something we already know: work. Nothing new. All right, the easiest thing is to stay in your pajamas or put on a tracksuit. But it’s not the most hygienic thing, not for the mind either.
“It’s a physical and visual distinction that helps set boundaries. Otherwise, one might feel like the job is never done,” wrote consultant Mason Donovan in his bestseller, The Golden Apple.
Dr. Bruno Ribeiro suggests that it is crucial to “start your day at the same time as you would normally arrive at the office or workplace, and finish it at the same time as usual.” Again, the same key: sending recognisable stimuli to the brain.
It is essential to establish a routine time because otherwise, you can fall into two errors: not fulfilling the tasks assigned or going far beyond the workday. It is recommended to be as far away as possible from social networks. Even block them while we are in front of the computer.
Talk on the phone
“Take the time to pick up the phone and have a real conversation“, recommends Dr. Bruno Ribeiro. Indeed, it is time to use and exploit all the possibilities of technology, to maintain ties not only with our relatives but also with our colleagues. Remember the tones and sounds of a conversation. And if it is with an image screen, even better.
And another little tip: it can be very beneficial not to leave the workplace while talking on the phone, not to take walks or go to another room. In short, do it as if you were at your usual place of work.
Take regular breaks
“It’s important to take regular breaks, get up from your desk and move around like in an office,” explains Dr. Ribeiro, who recalls that “many remote workers recommend the Pomodoro technique.”
The “Pomodoro” technique is a time management method that divides the workday into 25-minute blocks. A five-minute break follows each period, and when four minutes are up, a more extended break of about 15 minutes is taken.
It is handy to use these breaks to walk, stretch your legs, improve circulation, and eliminate muscle stiffness. Also, if it has not already been done, to hydrate ourselves and eat some piece of fruit, for example, or food that provides energy to continue. And another suggestion: since you are at home, why not use the longer breaks to do some fitness, yoga, or breathing techniques?
Get out of the house “mentally”
If one is not used to silence, it can be very shocking to enter into this new dynamic, so different from the usual one. One trick can be to open the windows or even leave the TV or radio on in the distance in the living room so that you can hear noise and conversations in the background without being distracted.
“If you can’t go out on a terrace, for example, you could even bring the ‘atmosphere’ of the office into the house. Use sounds to help create some of that atmosphere,” recommends Dr. Bruno Ribeiro.