Expert Panel, Forbes Coaches Council
Working from home is becoming increasingly popular due to its numerous benefits—for both the employee and the employer—but there are also a few potential problems that can come with remote work as well. Most remote work is done while sitting at the computer or on the phone, which means employees can end up staying in one spot for a long period of time—without meetings or coworkers reminding them to walk around once in a while.
All this can lead to an unhealthy, sedentary lifestyle. So, to help you keep yourself active while still getting your work done, Forbes Coaches Councilexperts provided their top ten strategies for avoiding inactivity in the at-home workplace.
1. Keep Exercise Equipment Nearby
Beyond setting times to walk or climb stairs, it's helpful to leave hand weights, resistance bands, exercise mats, pushup bars and chairs readily visible and perhaps even "in your way." This way, when you take a break you can pick up the weights, do some repetitions, practice pushups and leg exercises, use the resistance bands and frequently build strength a few minutes at a time when you leave your laptop. - Joanne Markow, GreenMason
2. Develop A Daily Rhythm
Habits and rituals are very powerful behavioral practices that can keep you on track or derail you. Creating regular rituals for yourself when working from home is essential. Set a consistent wake up time and schedule your work and your breaks. Have exercise equipment or weights you will use, do pushups, take a walk or simply have a standing desk. Use health apps to remind you when to get moving. - Maureen Orey, Workplace Learning & Performance Group
3. Get Up For Food
I'm a hypocrite here because it's something I've recently noticed about my own work habits. When I work from home, I order in using an app from my phone. The simple act of going out to eat or cooking something at home is much better because it forces you to get up and walk around more. Also, at home, it's a good idea to take your conference calls with video. That way you are less lazy. - Brian M Harman, Business Management Hallmark
4. Block Your Calendar For Breaks
It's easy to get a quick coffee break when you are in the office. When people don't see you at your desk, they come by later. Virtual working makes people feel guilty over taking breaks, as they are concerned the other side might think they are not working hard enough. Block your calendar for lunch and coffee breaks so that people know when you will be away. Then use and enjoy those breaks! - Marina Cvetkovic, The Peak Alliance
5. Take Walking Conference Calls
More and more leadership retreats are being held outside and while moving. Not only does moving feel good, but it creates greater blood flow, which helps in thinking, and also engages the lymph nodes, which relaxes us. Try at least one conference call (non-video) while taking even a gentle walk outside. You'll be really glad you did, and so will your partner on the other line. - John Hittler, Evoking Genius
6. Conduct Business Outside
As someone with a home office, I schedule frequent face-to-face meetings outside the office. Recently, I have begun experimenting with a "walk and coach" strategy with some clients where the coaching session is conducted while walking. This brings about clarity for the client, and I get to go outdoors. I have also started using Google Mini to alert me when to take a 10 to 15 minute exercise break. - Daisy Wright, The Wright Career Solution
7. Schedule Face-To-Face Meetings
Work can become isolating at home. The discipline of being one on one keeps you sharp. At home, work may protect you from a lot of distractions, but it also casts you in your own home movie, alone and sometimes isolated. The best at-home workers build in one on ones, face-to-face lunches and small group meetings every week. Remote work can be extremely beneficial, but one on ones keep you balanced. - John M. O'Connor, Career Pro Inc.
8. Take ‘Soak Time’ To Think Through Work
Everyone needs a little "soak time"—time to think about what they just did or are about to do, or have done and wish to revisit. Use that time to get up from the computer and take a 15 minute walk. If you walk at a reasonable pace, you should cover nearly a mile. Do that once before lunch and once after. Use the time to think about the issue necessitating the walk. - Michael Robilotto, Mikethecoach.org
9. Practice Time Blocking
When working from home, you can get into a work mode that inhibits exercise. Employ a time blocking method like the Pomodoro technique. By using this method, you remind yourself to take breaks. Use these breaks to take a quick walk, eat a healthy snack or just clear your mind. That will help you break ruts and overexertion, which can diminish energy later in the day. - Tony Mickle, Big Box Coaching
10. Disrupt Yourself To Concentrate More
Sometimes we get so caught up on our tasks that we realize it has been hours since we have moved. Disrupt yourself! Set an alarm for 25 or 55 minutes. Focus on a key priority. When the alarm goes off, get up and do something totally different—take a walk, talk to a friend, imagine something cool. Your brain and body are refreshed and your power of concentration for the next priority is much greater! - Sandi Mitchell, APEX Leadership Mastery
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