What women entrepreneurs should know about health and working from home

by | Apr 3, 2015 | Entrepreneurship, Planning Your Business

What women entrepreneurs should know about health and working from home
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Photo Source: PhotoXpress.com; Design: Carma Spence

When you work from home, it is easy to let things slide that you wouldn’t when you work for someone else. The structured environment of a corporate job is removed and we can find ourselves falling out of healthy habits and being batted around by other people’s agendas. If you let this happen, your business suffers.

Here are some things you can use that will help support your health — both physical and mental — so you can support your business in supporting you!

Be mindful of ergonomics. Having gone through carpal tunnel release surgery myself, I’ve become very mindful of ergonomics or designing your workspace for efficiency and safety. Items in your home office that you need to pay particular attention to include:

Your chair: It needs to support you in a number of ways. It needs to be comfortable, provide sufficient support for your body and seat you at the correct height so that your arms are in the right position for typing.

If your seat is uncomfortable you’ll end up with body aches that slow you down. If your seat is too low or too high, your arms will put your hands into unsafe positions that can cause carpal tunnel and cubital tunnel syndrome — both are conditions where a nerve is pinched, causing numbness and pain.

Because my hips are lopsided — one side is smaller than the other — I’ve found that sitting on a ball works best for me. Try out different seating options until you find one that works best for your body and workspace.

Your keyboard: It can be very important if you spend most of your day typing. If not, a standard one might be just fine. But if you are touch-typing all day long, you might want to look into an ergonomic keyboard with a wave shape. Also, note that keyboards generally have little legs in the back that angle it so the back is higher up than the front. This is terrible ergonomics because it forces your hands to tilt up. It is better to have the front higher than the back, so your hands angle down. I use a folded up towel to lift the front of my keyboard and it makes the world of difference.

Your mouse: It can also impact your health. Some people can use a mouse with no problem, while others work much better with a trackball. If this is you, try out different trackballs until you find one that works best for your body. More expensive does not equal better. I’ve found the least expensive trackball on the market, about $20, is the best one for my body.

Don’t get locked to your desk. Be sure to move around at least every hour so that you can get your circulation moving and give your body a rest. The human form was not meant to be sedentary. I’ve found that using a headset with my phone and standing up when I’m talking to someone works really well. I’m able to have better posture and therefore my voice is stronger. I also move about, which gets the circulation going. Another thing you can do is set a timer that reminds you to get out of your seat every hour. Even if it is just to go to the restroom or grab another glass of water, keep yourself moving.

Just because you’re working at home, doesn’t mean you don’t have a schedule. Develop a routine and set boundaries with others so they learn to respect your routine. Put things on your calendar and schedule your days. This was one of the toughest lessons for me to learn, but when you let others set the agenda for your day while working at home, you’ll find yourself not working at all, leading to frustration, self-doubt and a plethora of other negative emotions.

Some people find it easier to eat healthy within the confines of a corporate work schedule. I know that the routine of that kind of day helped me remember to take my vitamins — something I’m still struggling with! Therefore, it becomes critical that you stock your kitchen with healthy snack options when you work from home. You are in charge of your health and without that, you cannot run a successful business.

Another thing you might want to consider is setting up a schedule of when you eat. Just as being footloose and fancy-free with your schedule can harm your work, being carefree with what and when you eat can harm your body. You’ll find yourself either over- or under-eating, neither of which is good for your body or your business.

Create a soothing environment for your home office. Keep it clutter-free and decorated with images that empower, inspire and relax you. Some like to have a zen water fountain. I have a Buddha statue with a candle. I’ve even been known to burn incense now and then. Create a space that supports your creativity, your efficiency and, of course, your profitability.

April is Informed Women Month, so for the four Fridays this month, I’ll be sharing information that independent women entrepreneurs need to know.

April 10: Mindset and marketing your business
April 17: Relationships and entrepreneurship
April 24: The link between spirit and business

Originally created for the TidBitts.com platform, launched in September of 2014, my content on Fridays helps you “Own Your Awesome” in the eight facets of your life.


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