Recently I decided to undertake a Personal Health and Safety audit. No, not of my business, but of myself. Which as I work from home, I suppose is a health and safety audit of my business to a degree.
Women who work from home are increasingly oblivious to their own health and safety. We work for long hours, usually seated, whether at a computer or making things. We forget to eat regularly and healthily and forget to get up and move around.
Well, I do anyway.
So after undertaking my health and safety ‘audit’, I decided to invest in a few items to help me take care of my own health and safety in a more pro-active manner.
Firstly, I purchased a Polar Loop. This is a wrist band that records your activity during the day. After you have been online and put in a few details about yourself, it sets you a daily goal to ensure you undertake some physical activity during the day.
This can vary from jogging for an hour, walking for a couple of hours or up and on your feet doing light housework for 7 hours (really!!). It also counts the steps taken in a day and calories used. And it tells the time! As I never wear a watch this is a real bonus for me.
The one thing that really attracted me to it was that it sends an alert when you have been sat inactive for too long. The fatal flaw I have found since purchasing it though is that the alert flashes on the wristband so if I am wholly engrossed in a piece of research or sat on the phone, I don’t see the flashing. I do so wish that it would beep or vibrate to make me aware of the alert.
However, I have to say I am so much more aware of my daily activity levels now and keep checking to see how much more movement I have to do reach my goal and to get the ‘fireworks’ going off on the display when I have reached my target.
So to get over the fact that I sometimes miss my inactivity alerts, I set up a little app on my computer called Workrave. As their site states, Workrave is a program that assists in the recovery and prevention of Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI). The program frequently alerts you to take micro-pauses, rest breaks and restricts you to your daily limit.
Since installing this app, I have been amazed at how quickly the time goes when working on my laptop and how lapse I was in taking breaks previously. The fun, but very useful, part of the app is that on the longer breaks, it gives you a set of exercises to do. The break lengths are pre-loaded but these can be customised to personal preferences. I can certainly recommend this one. And even better, it is free.
My third purchase has been a decent ergonomic office chair. When in employed work, I have always managed to find a chair that suited my back but since working from home, I have made do with an old chair that I had, as so many of us do.
As the days and weeks have gone by, so my lower back pain has increased. And so I decided to invest in a decent chair. And what a difference it has made. After the initial fight of having to put it together myself, once constructed, I took a seat and wow! What a difference. My back was firmly hugged and supported. Could this be the start to pain free work?
So how about you take a few minutes out of your day to undertake a personal health and safety audit to become aware of what action you may need to take to protect yourself when working from home. If you were the MD in a large corporation you would want your staff to be comfortable and protected in order to do their job to their best ability wouldn’t you? So do the same for yourself.