|Working from home|
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Working from home may sound like an appealing prospect but there are serious downsides. Initially, it may seem novel and fun. But quite quickly people tend to go down one of two routes:
It is hard to sustain
a routine when working from home. You'll either do way too much work, not
take breaks and suffer from over-sitting, or you'll struggle to develop a
disciplined, productive schedule.
Sitting too much
The first danger with working from home is sitting too much. Sitting for long periods of time is not natural, nor is staring at a TV screen, mobile phone or computer monitor.
The main problem with sitting is gravity, loss of circulation and the tightening/shortening of your muscles.
Muscular tension stops your joints and vertebra from moving freely. When the hips, groin and sacroiliac freeze-up, the overall skeletal mobility is reduced.
When you are home-based, who do you socialise with? If you have an active social life, lots of friends, and a well-established social network, that's great. But what if you don't?
Online relationships don't count here. Interacting face-to-face is a complex experience and online chats or video calls are simply not the same.
People need to socialise. Humans are social animals. We need it in order to be healthy.
Compare the difference between being a worker in a company where every day you interact with people, talk, share stories/experiences etc, with being home-based...
If you are home-based, there is a high risk that your stimulation is more limited.
Many people watch the news. They get caught up in world events that are beyond their ability to influence or control. If you're working from home, this can be a problem.
Working in an interactive workplace entails an onslaught of stimuli. Even if you do have bad news to consider, it is no doubt competing with a whole host of other concerns.
You are innately less inclined to get anxious, blow things out of proportion. Things are naturally kept in perspective.
Meetings, conference calls etc
Long meetings aren't ideal for anyone. Many studies show that shorter, targeted meetings are better. And briefings are better than meetings. The emphasis here is upon brevity.
A good meeting is hosted. Somebody acts as the chairperson. They have an agenda and they keep things moving. Sidetracking is avoided, and distractions are curtailed.
Video conferencing is a tricky one. They are artificial. In a face-to-face meeting the whole dynamic is quite different. People interject, there's more creativity, spontaneity.
There's also a risk that video meetings are scheduled back-to-back or simply take too long. A day spent in meetings stagnates the mind.
Destroying your eyes
Too much screen time wrecks your eyes. Whether it's TV, computer or a mobile phone. Humans were never meant to stare at a screen for a prolonged period of time. The focus is fixed. We are only looking at something nearby. There's no horizon, no long distance. This makes the eyes weak.
Some people develop black circles under their eyes. Others have permanently bloodshot eyes.
It is crucial to develop a home routine. A start time. A finish time. Break times.
Taking a break
Companies tend to have coffee breaks and lunch breaks as standard. These allow the individual to step away from their job and do something else. Working through your lunch isn't smart.
The human brain needs rest. It needs that break.
By stepping back from the job, moving around, taking a walk and doing something else, the brain is restored. Functionality is improved.
If working from home, breaks need to be scheduled, and adhered to.
When at home, the fridge is always nearby and so is the kettle. This is great in terms of taking a break, but can also pose a problem in terms of weight gain.
we move conveys energy and
youth – not how buff we are.
Get some fresh air
Going outside is important. Being indoors too much is unhealthy. Taking a walk at some point is highly recommended. If you are indoors for a long period of time, ventilate. People need to breathe.
Tired after work?
It is normal to feel tired after work. You may want to crash. However, this will probably entail even more sitting. Additional sitting won't make you energised.
If you work at a computer, you arguably have all day to do your job. You might be sat, immobile all day long.
But what if you set yourself a time slot? Say 25 minutes? You only have 25 minutes to do the work, and then you must leave the desk for a 5 minute break.
When your time is open-ended, you are more inclined to waste it or become distracted. But when time is scarce, you automatically focus more and become more productive.
Setting limits and boundaries stops you from sitting all day staring at the computer screen. It forces you to make better use of your time and be far more creative.
When you set personal deadlines and impose restrictions on your time, you simply have no other choice.
We weren't designed to sit. The body is a perpetual motion machine.
(Dr. Joan Vernikos)
In terms of exercise, attending the gym or going running may seem like viable options. But how much social interaction takes place with those activities?
Running the street by yourself may be great fun if you like to run, but there's no social component as such.
In terms of the gym... exertive, physically strenuous exercise won't necessarily make you feel good. You may just feel wiped out.
Loneliness is very commonplace nowadays. If a person works from home and lives alone, they are very isolated indeed. This isn't healthy.
People need to share the human experience. We need to speak with people who care about us.
When someone lacks sufficient human interaction/feedback, they become awkward and uncomfortable with themselves.
We also need physical contact... It is a basic human requirement.
There is a modern phobia of physical contact. People quite often do not like to be touched. Yet, touch is one of our senses and if we ignore it, our world becomes far lonelier.
Touch is a form of communication. When a person is afraid or ill, physical contact can help to reassure them. If you are emotionally calm and open to other people, this will be transmitted through touch.
We can share our compassion without the need of words.
Positive social interaction
Picking a good social outlet can be tricky. This is one of the reasons why tai chi is great.
Students in a tai chi school are encouraged to interact with one another in a healthy, friendly manner, free from the competitive norms found in wider society.
There is a supportive atmosphere of trust and care. The training hall is a safe place to be.
Tai chi isn't exertive. Nothing is forced. People are encouraged to use moderation, and to do what feels comfortable.
Strangely, the body slowly becomes healthier and the individual becomes stronger and more resilient.
As they develop stamina, the student finds themselves capable of more demanding concerns, and they experience an increase in fitness, but without the level of difficulty usually associated with exercise.
All tai chi classes feature 3 main areas of study: qigong, form and pushing hands. If you are not undertaking partner work, you are not really training tai chi. Physical contact is necessary in order to receive feedback (tense/relaxed/connected etc) and to practice the tai chi skills.
9 November 2017
Last updated 26 July 2022