In the wake of COVID-19, many businesses have shifted their workforce to remote environments to help comply with social distancing and protecting both employees and clients. As most employers can attest, a healthy and productive workforce in a remote environment can be difficult to manage. Employers have been quick to provide COVID-19 resources, but one resource employers weren’t prepared for were navigating the remote workforce.
Promoting Health from Home
There are numerous ways to help promote employees’ health from remote environments, such as checking posture, stretching, continuing exercise, and changing scenery. Here are some tips for encouraging employee wellness while working from home.
Posture. Back pain will affect 80% of us during our lifetime (Employee Benefit Advisor). Even in a normal office environment, the pain can persist. Stress and anxiety can exacerbate the pain, which is why it is important to be cognizant of your posture. Sitting in one position an extended period of time or slouching in your chair can have lasting negative effects to your ligaments in your spine and strain on your spinal discs.
To practice proper posture alignment, follow this checklist:
- Elbows should be at ninety degrees with your wrists. Shoulders should be relaxed and level.
- Your back should be straight and aligned with your head. Be sure not to rotate your pelvis forward as it could lead to lower back pain.
- Check what you’re sitting in or on. If you experience back pain while sitting in chair, try placing a rolled-up towel behind your lower back. If you’re sitting on the couch, make sure you have enough pillows behind you to support your back.
- Your computer screen should be at eye level. Higher or lower than eye level can cause neck and shoulder pain.
Stretch. Working from home offers the luxury of privacy for employees. This offers the opportunity for a few quick stretches or yoga poses to help loosen your muscles and ensure proper blood flow. Here are a few quick stretches to try:
- Pec stretch: Stand in a doorway and place your forearms on each side of the doorframe. Push your chest forward slightly so you feel a stretch in your chest and between your shoulder blades. Hold for as long as is comfortable, up to 10 seconds. Repeat as tolerated, up to three times.
- Child’s pose stretch: Start on a mat or towel on the floor on all fours. With your big toes touching, spread your knees apart and sit back onto your feet as best you can. Hinge at the waist and extend your arms in front of you or next to you. If you can, touch your forehead to the floor. Hold for up to 15 seconds.
- Chair rotation: Sit sideways in a chair. Keeping your legs still, rotate your torso to the right and reach for the back of your chair with your hands. Hold your upper body there and hold for up to 10 seconds. Repeat on the other side, up to three times.
Scenery. Sometimes changing the room from where you work can assist with productivity, as well as encourage exercise. Taking a break and going for a five-minute walk outside, switching the laundry loads around, or simply moving to another room can all assist with ensuring you stand up and move about, as well as reset your thoughts.
Exercise. Whether your morning routine includes some form of home exercise or you go to the gym, being cooped up in the house can make it difficult to remain active. However, exercise is critical to blood flow to the muscles and a great way combat pain. Incorporating consistent exercise can help address chronic, minor, or anxiety-related pains.
Overall, comfort is critical to workplace productivity, especially in non-work environments.
While the working arrangements may not be ideal, it is imperative for employers to provide guidance on supporting employees’ health and wellness while working from home. Adding the stress and distraction of pain can hinder productivity even more.
QBS has many employee benefits and voluntary benefits available for employers to provide their employees to assist with any health care needs.
Contact QBS today for more information on our suite of full-service benefits.