Working Remotely: Creating the Perfect Atmosphere


socialstratmatt / Foter / CC BY-SA

Working remotely has its perks: no commute, comfy clothes, fewer distractions. But it’s key to create the right atmosphere for yourself. Choosing the right space, desk, wall color, etc. all play a role in creating the right atmosphere. Remember, your bed does not count as an office space. Below, we explore the elements that create the perfect working environment.

Space
If you work remotely, I cannot stress enough how important it is to create a separate work space. “Whenever possible, try to differentiate your workspace from your personal space. For instance, it’s not always the best idea to set up your desk in your bedroom, since you can get easily distracted and want to take a nap,” Curt Mercadante says on his blog.  Try setting up a spot away from distractions. If you’re tempted to take a nap, do laundry or tidy up on the kitchen, it’s probably best to avoid the bedroom, laundry room or kitchen.

Desk ergonomics and color play a key role
Having the right desk set up is essential. How you sit can affect your posture, productivity and comfort level. If you’re slumping over and uncomfortable, you may be less likely to perform at your highest potential. Try different desk options and see which one suits you best.

Color can play a big role in productivity and mood. As mentioned in the Huffington Post, the color green can make you more creative. Avoid “loud” colors like red and orange – as they may be distracting and too harsh on the eyes.

Noise
Try setting up a spot away from noise. For example, if the front of your house faces a busy street, set up your space opposite of that. This may seem little in the scheme of things, but it’s an important factor to consider.

All these factors play an important role in creating the ideal atmosphere and increasing productivity. What is your ideal work-at-home space?

Photo credit: socialstratmatt / Foter / CC BY-SA

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PR pros, take a lunch break!

Lunch at Koinonia

Wouldn’t it be nice to eat without getting mayo all over your keyboard?

We’re all guilty of not talking a lunch break and eating over our laptops at times. Even if we do step out for a “break,” we’re usually fiddling with our phones, checking emails, etc. Many PR professionals eat lunch at their desks. “Sixty-nine percent of PR professionals eat lunch at their desk rather than joining that chatty klatch heading out to a nearby deli, according to the PR Daily Salary and Job Satisfaction Survey” (PR Daily) With the year coming to a close, PR pros are especially busy planning for 2014, but it’s not an excuse to skip lunch.

Why it’s vital to take a lunch break

  • Food=fuel. If you take some time for lunch, you’ll have more energy to tackle the next project.
  • If you step away from your desk, you’ll be able to clear your mind and take a break from the digital world.
  • Heidi Mitchell (WSJ) discusses other benefits of taking a lunch break in this video, “Is Taking a Lunch Break Better for Your Health?

A few things you may want to do on your break

  • Refuel, but not with coffee. Try an apple or fruit instead.
  • Take your dog for a stroll if you’re nearby or work from home.
  • Take some time to breathe in the fresh air to help relax your mind.
  • Pamper yourself occasionally. Why not schedule a massage?

Like this post if you’re sitting at your desk reading on your “lunch break.”

Photo credit: NatalieMaynor / Foter.com / CC BY

Tackling Obesity in the Workplace

Obesity and overall health in the corporate world is becoming an increasing problem especially in the United States. Jobs that require sitting at a desk all day do not help. But should workers care? More importantly, should employers worry about the weight of their workers?

Aaron Landry / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Obesity is more than just a number on a scale

  • Larger employees cost employers.  MarketWatch says, “Obesity-related health problems account for a big chunk of medical claims, insurance experts say, leading some executives to believe the best way to trim their budgets is to get workers to trim their own fat first.”
  • Obesity in the workplace costs businesses billions of dollars each year. “Full-time workers in the US who are overweight or obese and have other chronic health conditions miss an estimated 450 million additional days of work each year compared with healthy workers — resulting in an estimated cost of more than $153 billion in lost productivity annually, according to a 2011 Gallup Poll.” (via Obesity Campaign)
  • Obesity can compound other injuries. According to an article in Insurance Journal, “Obesity increases the healing times of fractures, strains and sprains, and complicates surgery.”
  • The Obesity Campaign states there are more than 60 chronic diseases associated with obesity.

So there is an argument to be made that obesity is more than just a personal issue. It’s a professional liability in some instances. The question then becomes what can be done. What can/should employers do, and what options are available for more sedentary work environments?

  • Employers should encourage employees to get up from their desk each hour or so, even if only for a few minutes.
  • Where possible, employers might consider providing standings desks. Read about one Philly business offering this option.
  • Offer treadmill desks. Researchers speaking with Harvard Business Review suggest treadmill desks may be a good fit in terms of health and productivity.
  • Instead of having a coffee machine, provide fresh fruits and water to boost energy and productivity.
  • Provide healthier options at the cafeteria such as salad bars and healthier vending machine options.
  • Instead of having sedentary brainstorming meetings, try having a walking meeting outside (weather permitting!)
  • Offer wellness programs tailored to individuals to meet their specific needs.

Sure, incorporating healthier options and wellness programs might offer upfront costs, but a wealth of research indicates the savings in terms of workers’ compensation matters, sick time and overall employee health are significant.

Photo credit: Aaron Landry / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA