Stay Healthy While Working from Home

10 Best Practices to Stay Healthy While Working from Home in Nigeria

Remote Work in Nigeria: Your Guide to Optimal Health and Well-being

by Michael Dawodu

NEPA issues, fuel scarcity, poor internet service, and many more barriers make staying healthy while working from home in Nigeria difficult. Even if you escape these factors and are comfortable working from home, some Nigerians begin to raise eyebrows about your source of income. And you know you can’t explain enough.

you will explain till you're exhausted

How do you manage the physical, mental and social stress? First, let’s briefly review the working-from-home situation in Nigeria and its origin.

Working from Home in Nigeria

Adapt or die. That was the only survival option for businesses when the world was rocked by a pandemic in 2019. Some companies shut down under the pressure, while others adopted the work-from-home strategy. The work-from-home practice soon became normal in Nigeria, as 52 percent of Nigerian businesses reported that their employees had engaged in remote work. Three years later, after test-running the system and enjoying the benefits beyond medical safety, we wonder, “How can we stay healthy while working from home?” 

While remote work is beneficial in many ways – increased productivity, flexible work hours, and reduced commute time – it threatens employee health and well-being. Many remote workers in Nigeria work under conditions that negatively affect their physical, mental, and social health. This makes it challenging to stay healthy while working from home. It even exposes remote workers to the risk of developing chronic diseases.

It is important to maintain health while working from home. This article will discuss the importance of maintaining good health and provide practical tips on staying healthy while working from home.

Health Risks of Working from Home

Nigerians need to stay healthy while working from home. Working from home can be challenging to the health and well-being of remote workers. But if managed well, it can be a productivity hack for employees. The major health risks remote workers face are in three forms: physical, mental, and social.

  1. Physical health risk

Remote workers are more likely to be sedentary and have poor sitting posture. This can lead to many harmful tech-related medical conditions, including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. They also tend to eat a lot of fast and processed food, which does not help them stay healthy while working from home.

  1. Mental health risk

Remote work can be an experience of isolation, loneliness and burnout. This constant tiredness and lack of social relationships affect the remote workers’ mental health. Remote workers also lose communication skills over time due to a lack of interpersonal relationships.

  1. Social health risk

This is mainly about maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Having a work-life balance is also hard when your work lives with you. This, in turn, leads to an unhealthy lifestyle that is mostly occupied by work, making it difficult to maintain good health while working from home.

However, remote work doesn’t have to be a nightmare of health risks and loneliness. The next section provides healthy tips to stay healthy while working from home.

10 Ways to Stay Healthy While Working from Home

Physical health

  1. Set up a dedicated workspace

Even though you work from home, you should set up a workspace. That means having a desk, a chair, good ventilation, and everything you need to work comfortably. Sitting on a sofa or a bed to work allows for bad posture and contributes to aches and hurts over time. You could make your workspace more exciting by adding some smart home technology. Setting up a dedicated workspace is a huge step towards staying healthy while working remotely.

  1. Take stretch breaks

Sitting down for long hours to work can lead to stiff joints and body aches. This is even made worse when your work posture is bad. Take breaks during your workday to move around and stretch every 20-30 minutes. It prevents muscle tension and fatigue. 

You should also adopt proper sitting postures for work. Here are 5 easy tips to achieve the best sitting posture for work:

  • Adjust your chair height so that your feet rest flat on the floor.
  • Keep your knees at the level of your hips or slightly below.
  • Sit up with a straight back and relaxed shoulders.
  • Keep your elbows at your side and your wrists straight
  • Position your monitor so that the top of the screen is at eye level or slightly below.
  1. Take water breaks

It can be easy to forget basic things like staying hydrated. Avoid taking soda or other sugary drinks whenever you feel thirsty. Hydration helps your body’s systems work functionally. A small habit like taking water breaks will help you stay healthy while working at home.

  1. Stay active outside work hours

Try your best to get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week. Since you do most of your work at a desk, some activity here and there will do your body good. Staying active does not mean you must sign up at a gym; anything that momentarily increases your heart rate is enough. Some things you can do to stay active include:

  • Cook your meals.
  • Walk your pet (if you have one), or take evening walks.
  • Walk to the neighbourhood store for supplies instead of ordering online.
  • Adopt a desk exercise routine.

Keeping your body active will prevent you from being sedentary and help you stay healthy while working from home.

  1. Eat a healthy diet

A healthy diet plan is highly recommended for remote workers in Nigeria. Cut processed foods from your diet and cook your meals. If you don’t have the time to cook your meals, subscribe to a healthy meal plan. Many online services allow you to draw up a meal plan and get it freshly cooked daily. Eating healthy is also a natural way of boosting your immune system, keeping you from some illnesses caused by an inactive lifestyle.

Mental health

  1. Connect with co-workers

Humans are social creatures, and distancing from society for a long time might affect your mental health negatively. If you work from home, try to get as many interpersonal relationships as possible. Engage your co-workers in conversations over virtual meetings. You can even organise meetups. Parks or public places around you are also good places to meet people and interact.

  1. Take leisure breaks

Try as much as possible to be well-rested while working from home. Being overworked or burnt out will harm your overall health more than good. Whenever you need some rest, do not hesitate to take it. Getting enough rest will go a long way in keeping you healthy while working from home.

  1. Work-life boundaries

Set a clear boundary between work and personal life. Do not get so lost in work that you forget to live for yourself. Enjoy your time, go out, meet people, enjoy life, and touch grass (yes, grass). A clear work-life boundary is necessary to stay healthy while working from home.

  1. Use your paid time off

This part of your contract isn’t just aesthetics. Your employers understand you need time off work to stay healthy and productive. Do not feel bad or guilty about using your paid time off. A few weeks without you wouldn’t crash the stock market.

  1. See a professional

See a professional if you begin to have concerns about your mental health. Take a medical leave to visit a professional about your concerns. Isolating or burying yourself further into work will only make things worse. To maintain optimal health as a remote worker, you should be ready to work towards it.

Also read: How to Stay Productive While Working From Home in Nigeria

How Nigerian Employers Can Help Remote Workers Stay Healthy

Many remote workers in Nigeria work themselves to poor health because of poor working conditions or bad administration. As an employer, there are ways you can help your remote work staff stay healthy. Some tips to keep your remote workforce healthy in Nigeria include:

  • Encourage the paid time off. Do not ask staff unnecessary questions when they demand their paid time off.
  • Respect work hours. Avoid asking staff to “urgently hop on a task” in the middle of the night. Keep work within work hours and allow remote workers some personal time.
  • Plan meetups for your remote workforce. Organise events that will bring them all together physically. This will help their mental health and social life greatly.
  • Conduct regular check-ups for remote workers. This can be in the form of an online survey or a company-covered medical check-up. This will help you determine if they have been staying healthy while working from home or need help.

A healthy workforce leads to business productivity. Health insurance or all expenses paid vacations might be a lot to ask, but you can do simpler. Staying flexible and prioritising your workers will help them stay healthy while working from home.

Companies are responsible for the well-being of their staff, remote or on-site. However, your health remains in your hands. As a remote worker in Nigeria, you should adopt a healthier and balanced lifestyle to stay healthy. There is no real need to get overworked; work at your pace and care for yourself.

About Author

Avatar of Michael Dawodu
Michael Dawodu
A motivated and enthusiastic writer with a passion for making social impacts. Michael is also a multi-linguist, speaks English, French, Yoruba as some German. He writes French articles for Panodyssey.
His interests are health and lifestyle, current affairs, sports, and arts.

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