These days, more people are enjoying the benefits of working from home. According to Forbes Magazine, 30 million Americans work from home at least once a week, and that number is expected to rise by 63 percent in the next five years.
While this is great news for busy women who need more flexible schedules, it could present some challenges to your health if you're not careful. Consider these 10 ways to stay healthy while you're working from home.
1. Separate yourself. Especially if there are other people around while you're working, it's important to separate yourself from the business of your household. Set up a home office with a door that you can close if you need to drown out the noise of your pets, kids or TV to keep sane and remain productive and professional.
2. Get a good chair. Good posture is important, and you don't want to have to strain your back or neck while hunched over your computer screen. Choose a chair that's comfortable, but not too comfortable—your living room recliner won't position you correctly for work.
3. Set a schedule. It can be difficult to establish a set schedule when you're working from home, because, if you need to, you can just keep working. However, try thinking of your work-from-home hours the same way you do office hours. Choose a start time, lunch break and finish time that you stick to as closely as possible so you can maintain a healthy work-life balance.
4. Get up and move. Every so often, it's good to get up and stretch your body between periods of sitting. Stand up and pace around during conference calls if you have them or take a break occasionally to stroll around the house, do a few stretches or lift some light hand weights. If you need to, set a timer to help you remember.
5. Stock up on healthy snacks and drinks. You might be tempted to eat whatever unhealthy foods you have in your kitchen when you're working from home, but resist the temptation. Pack yourself a bag full of healthy snacks as if you're headed into the office, and keep a water bottle handy to sip from throughout the day.
6. Plan a workout. The good thing about working from home is that your schedule is a bit more flexible, so you can choose when to work out. Whether it's before work, on your lunch break or after the work day is over, don't forget to get in a good workout.
7. Control your environment. At home, you don't have to be at the mercy of your boss's ideal office environment —you're in charge. Open your windows to let some fresh air in to reinvigorate yourself, set the thermostat to whatever temperature feels most comfortable to you and turn on as many lights as you need to see without squinting or dealing with glare.
8. Give your eyes a rest. It's not healthy for your eyes to be glued to a computer screen all day. Make time during every hour spent on your computer to close your eyes for a few minutes or look at something else to make sure you're not straining them.
9. Create a support system. Without regular interaction with coworkers, it can get a little lonely working from home. Develop a support system of coworkers, friends or family you can chat with online every now and then or call when you need to talk about a work-related accomplishment or setback.
10. Change out of your pajamas. You might be tempted to forgo the shower and lounge around in your pajamas all day, but this isn't a good recipe for productivity. Shower before you start working and put on something other than pajamas to get out of the lazy mindset. Workout clothes are a good option!