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desk exercises

Staying fit while working remotely from home: 10 easy office exercises + tips

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, we have all had to readjust our ways of life. If you’re one of the many non-essential workers still working remotely from home, then you’ll know first hand the struggles of achieving work-life balance. Fitness is just one of the many areas that have been thrown off balance during this time. With gyms closed and routines disrupted, many have fallen off the fitness-wagon since they can no longer grab that quick yoga class or hop over to the gym after work. Luckily, there are a few easy office exercises you can do each day in under ten minutes that will help you stay fit as you continue working remotely from home. 

office exercises

4 Tips for staying active while working remotely from home

Even if you spend long hours sitting at your desk and glued to your computer during your workday, we can always manage to get some moves in and burn some extra calories. 

office exercises

Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash

Here are a few tips that can help you take advantage of your work activity and use it to your benefit: 

  1. If you spend hours on the phone, walk around the desk while on the conversation. Not only will it help change your posture but it will also energize your conversation. Best phone sales are closed while pacing around the office!
  2. If you need to be at your computer for long hours, buy a desk stepper. They’re compact and will fit right under your desk, allowing you to step away –it may take a little coordination while typing but can be done!  
  3. Another option is to change up your desk setup if possible to a standing desk or swap out your chair for an exercise ball. 
  4. And for those of you who, like me, struggle to pull yourself away from the computer: set your phone alarm every hour and take 3 minutes to stretch and do some of the easy office exercises shown below.

You might be interested: Is working remotely a pain? Tips to be more comfortable and productive

10 Easy office exercises to try

Daily exercise not only benefits your overall health, but it also can have a direct impact on your work performance and productivity, with many employees reporting that they feel “more motivated to work” and less stressed on exercise days. 

In the video below, Anna Frank from Yuru walks you through 10 easy office exercises that you can perform each day in under ten minutes.


For all of these exercises there is no or very limited equipment required, and everything you may need can easily be found around the house or office. 

Additionally, there are a multitude of free exercise videos right at your fingertips on YouTube from various creators who make curated videos specifically for those who want a quick at-home workout. You may have even heard of some as many of these workout routines have gone viral during the quarantine such as the popular Chloe Ting 2 Week Shred Challenge

But if you’re not looking for intense workout challenges, no worries! There are plenty of other quick and easy videos for you to try out. My go-to and personal favorite lately is this quick 8-minute arm workout by fitness YouTuber, Holly Dolke. It’s super simple, takes less than 10 minutes, and best of all there’s no equipment needed. Check it out below!

working remotely, business financing

Is working remotely a pain? Tips to be more comfortable and productive

If you’re new to working remotely and could use some guidance on how to be more comfortable with it, here are some tips to help you be less stressed and more productive. It may be easier than you think to master the art of working remotely!

working remotely

Please don’t work like this! (Photo credit: Courtesy Creative Writing)

Having have been a “remote worker” for seven years, I have mastered the art of working from home, and it’s how I prefer to work. But working remotely does require certain adjustments, to help you avoid becoming stressed out. Since many people have suddenly been forced to work from home, due to the need for social distancing during the Coronavirus health crisis, I’m sharing some important tips that can help you be as productive and comfortable as possible.

working remotelyToday’s focus: Don’t let working remotely become a pain in the neck…and back…and wrists. Your desk setup is key to being pain-free. Here’s how to do it.

1. First and foremost, do not sit on the couch or curled up on a bed working on your laptop computer — while that sounds comfy, you’ll wind up in knots.

2. Accessorize your laptop:

    • Use a mouse — not the laptop’s trackpad. It’s not only better for your wrists, hands and arms. It also helps you get work done much more quickly and efficiently by making it easier to do functions like select, copy, paste and scroll, and to access shortcuts that are available by right-clicking.
    • Use a real keyboard — either the kind that plugs into a USB port (if your laptop has one), or a wireless one. Position it as ergonomically as possible, to avoid tensing up your shoulders and straining your wrists. Your shoulders, wrists and elbows should all form one 90-degree angle, with your wrists kept loose and hands in a straight position (not bent up or down). Depending on your height, this may require your keyboard to be below your desktop. If so and you don’t have an under-desk keyboard tray, try having the keyboard on your lap, elevated a by a firm pillow.
    • Raise your laptop so it’s at eye level, directly in front of you, to avoid neck strain. A stack of books can do the trick, or use a laptop stand that can provide some additional space for storage.
    • Have batteries on hand (and nearby) if you use a wireless mouse and/or keyboard. You don’t want to wind up suddenly out of commission when you’re on deadline or on a conference call!

3. It’s imperative to have a comfortable chair, and maintain good posture. If need be, add a pillow to support your back, and/or a cushion so you don’t get achy from sitting against a hard surface. Your feet should rest flat on the ground. If you’re on the shorter side (like me) and they don’t, add a footrest.

    • If you’ll be working remotely long-term, it’s wise to invest in an ergonomic chair that’s suited to your size and the way you work. Do some research online and look for features that match your needs — including adjustability, maximum user weight, seat height, seat depth, lumbar support, and back tilt. You’ll find free ergonomic calculators that can help you with this. If you can, wait until stores reopen and be like Goldilocks: Go test a variety of chairs in-person and choose one that’s “just right.” If you can’t wait, be sure to buy from a company that has a generous return policy.

working remotely

4. Go hands-free with your phone. Use speakerphone, a Bluetooth earpiece, or cell phone earbuds. This will enable you to take notes or continue using your computer, while sparing you from the special kind of pain that comes from holding your phone with your shoulder.

5. Don’t just sit there! Get up and move around for at least a few minutes every hour — walk, stretch, breathe deeply, refill your water glass. Setting a daily “steps goal” and sticking to it can be a good motivator. Taking these little breaks will help you loosen up, and also clear your head so you can be more creative and think more effectively. Set a timer, or set your fitness tracker to vibrate with reminders to move. While it may sound silly to set reminders, it’s easy to get “in the zone” and lose track of time when you’re working.

    • When you’re the phone, walk around if you can (or at least stand up). Studies show that movement is associated with higher creativity, and standing makes your voice stronger and clearer by allowing you to breathe more deeply and naturally. Walking around can also help you focus on the conversation and resist the urge to engage in counterproductive multitasking.

If you (or your employer) need to buy any new equipment, I encourage you to shop locally and patronize small businesses, if possible. Your local merchants will really appreciate it, especially as the necessity of social distancing has hurt many of them financially. See if you can order from them online or by phone. At this writing, many will offer delivery or curbside pickup.

What are your desk setup questions, or tips for working remotely? Please share!

Wishing you good health and a positive, successful experience working from home.

You might be interested: 5 Remote recruitment tips proven to actually work

work from home

Work from home pitfalls and how to stay relevant even wearing your pajamas

If you work from home, you may have many advantages but also some drawbacks. Even if you are the best at your job, lack of opportunity to interact with managers and colleagues might take away your ability to be considered for promotions or interesting assignments. How do you stay relevant when your boss doesn’t see you every day?

work from home

Do you have a job that allows you to work from home?  Are you working at a remote location away from your company’s headquarters?  Or, is your immediate supervisor located in a different city?

It may be great to work from home, avoid the commute, blend job duties with household chores (put in a load of laundry before joining that conference call) or be away from the grind of a frenzied headquarter site.

Unfortunately, there are some significant downsides to being a remote worker that researchers say can impact morale which then hurts your performance and the kind of assignments your boss provides.  If these are not handled right, it can impact your advancement and overall career growth.

There are some key steps for you to take to make sure that your working remotely is a big success for your current role and your overall career success.

work from home

  1.  Communicate more often than expected. Of course you are attending team calls each weak but do you speak up on each call?  Do you offer a real update or is it your tendency to simply say, “everything is going fine, nothing new here.”  That maybe a quick way to get through the call but you’ll want to be more specific. Beyond those expected calls, you will need to find a way to update your supervisor with a weekly summary email and establish a regular monthly (at least) 1 to 1 video call to check in and ask for feedback.   Emphasis on “video”–its your best option to an in person meeting.
  2. Leverage each conference call to showcase your best.  Your employer may use Skype for Business, ZoomBlueJeans, JoinMe, or WebEx.  Each of the links in that sentence is pointing to the help sites for these applications. If you are in doubt about how to share screens, turn on or off your camera or mute yourself–read the guides and understand those features! Quick!  And, set up your office background so that when you are on camera your environment looks and is all about business. A pile of laundry in the background, cluttered piles of paper, or a TV playing in the background is a distraction from you, your skills set and your message.  Don’t detract from your performance by making any of the 11 mistakes for handling video conference calls!

You might be interested: 7 Steps to master family and career balance

3. Make sure your executive presence comes through on calls. Research has found that executive presence is about 3 key ingredients: Gravitas, Communication, and Appearance. This must be part of your personal brand is a 24/7 endeavor. It is easy to get caught up in your work routine and accept a call when you probably should not.  Many of us are forced to take calls when you are rushing to the airport or picking up kids from school or in the middle of the night for a global team call. Don’t do any of these if you truly cannot manage the impression you will create for your boss. Your dedication to the job can quickly get sidelined if that call makes it seem you lack focus, judgement, or commitment.

 

This article was first posted on #3LVCareerHacks to build your creative muscle and engage in your workplace drive for innovation.

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