Working From Home
by our Sports Scientist Stephen Morehen
The past two weeks have been a huge shock for us all, and as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, a huge number of us will now be adjusting to now working from home in an effort to delay the spread of the virus and limit the stress placed upon our healthcare system.
Remote working is often seen as a luxury and something to be coveted as it allows you to work from the comfort of your own home. However, as we are now being advised to avoid going out but for essential reasons, our homes will quickly start to feel suffocating if we’re not careful.
In light of recent events, and as somebody who has worked remotely from home for the last 4 months, I thought I would share some tips which I have found to help with the transition to remote working.
- The thing I’d recommend the most is leaving the house before you start working. Even if it’s just a 15-minute walk around the block, getting some fresh air and moving the legs makes me feel much more awake by the time I sit down to start working. Also, as we aren’t commuting, your step count will be lower meaning the amount of calories you burn in a day will also be lower  .
- Have a dedicated space where you are working, natural light boosts mood  so try and work somewhere that has a source of natural light. Having a dedicated space to work allows you to be in “work mode” when you’re in/at a given space and makes it easier to switch out of work mode when the day is done.
- Similar to the above, some people find it difficult to work productively wearing joggers and a hoody. Putting on a full suit might be a bit extreme but wearing something other than chill-clothes might help to get your mind in to work-mode. Getting changed at the end of the work-day again helps to switch off and chill out when the day is done.
- Elevate your screen so you’re not looking down at it, your neck will thank you.
- Planning out your day in 1- or 2-hour blocks can help you remain organised, avoid distractions and ensure you’re completing the required tasks each day. Completing a PLOD (Plan of the Day) for the upcoming day will keep you on track and having an overall PLOW (Plan of the Week) will allow you to reflect upon what you have achieved at the end of the week.
- If you’re able to, eat lunch away from your workspace again so you train your mind into knowing that when you’re at the desk, you’re working (and vice-versa!). If you have the facilities to do so and the British weather allows, try eating outside for another dose of fresh-air and Vitamin D (see point 8).
- If you have snacks at your workspace, you WILL be tempted to eat all of them, keep them in the kitchen so you can dip in if you want to when you’re getting a coffee or taking a break.
- One now from the Sports Scientist in me, not being outside as much puts us at risk of Vitamin D deficiency due to a lack of exposure to natural sunlight. In fact, it is estimated that over 1 billion of us worldwide are deficient in Vitamin D, including a massive 42% of Americans [3, 4] . Our bodies synthesize Vitamin D from the cholesterol in our skin when we get exposure to the sun  . So if you’re unable to get outside before, during or after your workday, it may be worth considering getting a Vitamin D3 supplement in. Unfortunately, there is not a clear-cut consensus from current research when it comes to how much we should supplement with, as there are a number of factors which can affect this including age, skin tone, environment and certain medical conditions such as Crohn’s disease. Supplements will typically contain 2000-3000iu which falls within the range of doses presented in current research (1000-4000iu), consult your doctor if you think you might be more at risk of Vitamin D deficiency than the average person.
These are very peculiar times and this list is by no means exhaustive. Talk to friends, family and colleagues about what works for them and you’re sure to find something that you can implement too, feel free to share it with us on the Bamorganic socials too!
Above all, it is critical that we pull together and help in any way that we can. The latest up to date government advice can be found on: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
- Bowden Davies, K.A., et al., Reduced physical activity in young and older adults: metabolic and musculoskeletal implications. Ther Adv Endocrinol Metab, 2019. 10: p. 2042018819888824.
- Sansone, R.A. and L.A. Sansone, Sunshine, serotonin, and skin: a partial explanation for seasonal patterns in psychopathology? Innov Clin Neurosci, 2013. 10(7-8): p. 20-4.
- Sahota, O., Understanding vitamin D deficiency. Age Ageing, 2014. 43(5): p. 589-91.
- Forrest, K.Y. and W.L. Stuhldreher, Prevalence and correlates of vitamin D deficiency in US adults. Nutr Res, 2011. 31(1): p. 48-54.
- Reichrath, J., et al., Vitamins as hormones. Horm Metab Res, 2007. 39(2): p. 71-84.