(Sixth in a series on working from home.)
I love working from home. Years ago, when I had to work in an office, I would get up early enough for the commute, put on my binding clothes and walk out the door feeling a pang at leaving the place where I felt most comfortable and free.
For many of us, it isn’t the work that we don’t want to go to; it’s the confining space where the work gets done.
No wonder. Human beings were made to move around.
Dr. James Levine, in his 2015 book, “Get Up! Why your Chair is Killing You and What You Can Do About It,” reports on research that proves our norms of 12-15 hours of sitting per day are causing a litany of health problems. Our risk for heart disease, diabetes and obesity is higher than for less sedentary people. We gain weight, we can’t think as clearly or stay as alert.
A 2014 Canadian study, found that the more time people spent up on their feet, the longer they lived.
Our culture is way overdue for major lifestyle changes.
Working at home gives us unique opportunities to either sit ourselves to death, or keep moving all day long.
On one hand, some people report that working at home leads to less movement, since they don’t need to go anywhere.
On the other hand, we’re free from the office norms that keep so many people sitting. We can stand up for phone calls, to work on computers, to read and write. We can pace around our whole place while we’re thinking through a problem. We can do huge, office-inappropriate stretches while someone’s monologing on a conference call.
We can work in our sweats till we’ve exercised and showered. We can jump up and down 100 times when we get dopey. We can walk around the block to calm down when someone has made us mad.
Our family invested in a standing desk this year, and I’ve been delighted with how much more alert I feel, and how tasks even seem a little bit easier. My sons have used a fold up desk extension – it looks like a tray on long legs mounted on a desk. That worked well too, and was a whole lot cheaper. Working at a kitchen counter or even sticking your laptop on a stack of big books is better than sitting all day.
So far in this series on working from home we’ve covered the need to eat well, take regular time off, set boundaries for how available we are, build good work habits and reward ourselves for the work we do. I think that taking advantage of our freedom to move is another key way to increase our health and productivity at the same time.`