Working from home can be a challenge for a variety of different reasons, some people will be on their own and struggling with not seeing anybody whilst others are trying to balance home schooling and keeping children entertained! Many of us will be working from the kitchen or dining room table or on a small desk in a bedroom which may not be great for our necks and backs!
One of our key values as a business is creating the best environment for our staff (which can be challenging in a full work from home scenario) and the wellbeing of our staff and their families is increasingly important to Boston as we work through this period in our lives. Last week we arranged for Susie from Physio led Pilates to talk to us (virtually of course) about workplace wellbeing when working from home.
One of the topics covered by Susie was reducing the risk of Musculoskeletal (MSK) complaints. She highlighted that 18.8m people in the UK have reported a MSK condition and over 10m people in the UK have persistent back pain. MSK conditions account for the third largest area of NHS spending about £5 billion each year.
Bad posture is often blamed for back pain and whilst this can be a factor, lack of movement and stress can often be causes as well as a variety of psychological, social and biological factors.
Working from home with the potential lack of routine, sometimes longer working hours with no natural disruptions (such as talking to colleagues), lack of social contact and potentially long periods of time spent in awkward or fixed positions can cause problems if we are not careful.
This is why exercise and general movement are so important and it doesn’t have to be going to the gym or strenuous exercise. Susie explained that regular exercise can have many benefits including, more energy, better memory, healthier heart, better mental health and stronger bones. Exercise can also reduce the risk of depression, dementia, fractures, diabetes and certain cancers.
When working from home Susie suggests setting a routine and sticking to it, getting up from your desk or workspace every 30 – 40 minutes, standing and walking round the house to make a drink, exercise, creating a dedicated workspace (as best you can) and practising mindfulness and relaxation exercises.
During the session we learnt some desk exercises and that it is important to balance the “stress bucket” and do things that we enjoy to relieve stress.
As good food is something that makes most people happy we have also brought back The Boston Tea Party that was originally introduced during Isle of Man lockdown 1.
Each employee is given £100 for them and their family to have a takeaway meal from a local restaurant. The aim is to treat staff and maintain good spirits and also to help support local businesses who may have lost out on business as a result of lockdown, and we encourage other local business who are still in good health to do the same!
Other things we are doing to try and make lockdown more enjoyable are:
- Weekly all staff chats and wine time on a Friday.
- Occasional fancy dress – although we did this so much in the first lockdown some of us are running low on different fancy dress options!
- Flexible working to help manage family life.
Company culture is incredibly important to us, so we continually working on initiatives to keep our staff engaged and entertained.