The country has transitioned at an unprecedented pace over the past several months. A lot of our every day “norms” have changed, including the way we work. Our workforce has shifted and more employers have transitioned to remote operations.
While there are benefits to employees working remotely such as reduced commute times and better scheduling of other responsibilities, there could be some negative effects as well. When working from home, it can be tough for remote employees to develop a sense of comradery as they would with in-office colleagues. There may also be a perception that they must work harder to show the value of their work to superiors. This can lead to feelings of isolation and anxiety which can trigger a handful of physical and psychological responses including fatigue, depression, and demotivation. Together these emotions can hamper meetings, decrease productivity, and affect team morale.
One thing that has been shown to help keep a sense of normalcy and routine is physical activity. Participating in movement for just 30 to 60 minutes, 3 to 5 times a week, can have a huge impact on your work life, mental health, and productivity.
What are the benefits of exercise?
Exercising regularly has amazing benefits for the body, mind, and spirit. In addition to physical wellness such as weight management and reduced risk of chronic disease, exercise can provide numerous psychological benefits, including the ability to better manage stress and reduce feelings of depression and anxiety.
Studies show that long sitting for extended periods of time at work was associated with a lower work productivity and decreased mental well-being. When employees take time each day to engage in physical activity, it’s been shown to elevate mood and improve overall work performance.
How can I stay active throughout my workday?
Many people associate exercise with an intense gym regimen, but vigorous activity is not necessary to reap all of the benefits. There are wonderful, small ways you can stay active when working from home.
Establish a walking routine
Simply starting a regular walking routine can improve your cardiovascular health and quality of life. Studies show that for every hour spent walking, you can increase your life expectancy by two hours. Some of the world’s healthiest and longest-living populations do not “workout” in the traditional sense, but rather incorporate regular, moderate physical activity into their daily lives, such as walking and gardening. Set a schedule to take a midday stroll around the neighborhood or a brisk post-dinner walk.
Set reminders to get up
Set a reminder in your phone every couple of hours to get up and stretch. Even simple movements like seated spinal twists, rolling out the hips and neck, and seated pigeon pose can get the blood flowing. Feeling more ambitious? Why not do some jumping jacks, air squats, or planks!
Join an online yoga class
In addition to providing a wonderful workout, practicing yoga can be a very spiritual and grounding experience. Whether you are a new or seasoned yogi, there are so many fantastic resources online from virtual live classes, recorded YouTube videos, and books, to help you on your way to a more relaxed and productive session.
Stress can take a toll on your mind and body, and for some, this can hinder work performance. However, making small changes in your daily routine or mixing up your exercise program may be what your mind needs in order to reduce your stress levels and boost your work productivity.
Dr. Thulani offers executive wellness coaching and workplace wellness programs to help individuals and organizations deal with stress and become more effective in their personal and professional lives.