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6 tips for a healthy, productive work routine

Balancing household and career demands is a challenge even in “normal” times, so it’s no wonder many of us have sought new ways to optimize our effectiveness (while staying healthy) over the last year.

Here are six tips to help you maintain a healthy, productive work routine.

  1. Emphasize positivity in your work setup.

It’s important to work in as comfortable an environment as possible, and it may be easier to improve than you think.

Try adding some flowers (fresh or artificial), a photo of your favorite people, or a significant item that inspires you to your desk.

If you’re feeling confined and have an available window, try moving your workspace closer to it. Make sure you’re using a seat that supports you with your feet on the ground, but doesn’t encourage a slouched posture. Review these ergonomic guidelines for sitting and standing best practices.

  1. Combat Zoom fatigue.

Zoom fatigue is real and it affects all of us at varying levels.

If video calls are wearing you down, try taking back-to-back calls in different spaces — even within the same room. Stretch between calls to loosen your muscles and release tension.

Perhaps you have a table where you can stand during meetings and shift your weight to prevent fatigue.

Finally, schedule “Zoom-free” blocks into your calendar where you can focus on tasks that require your full attention.

  1. Make time for food.

It can be easy to forget to get up and eat, but your time is valuable, your eyes need a break and food is fuel.

Visit the MyWay to Health Workshops page to register for virtual workshops. Check out the MyWay to Health Recipe Box to learn delicious, healthy recipes to help you power through the week.

Need help establishing a healthy routine? Connect with our team of registered dietitians for a personalized meal plan.

Have a snack. Make some lunch. Your well-being depends on it!

  1. Plan for the unplanned.

It’s not a question of “if” unexpected requests and questions will come your way. It’s “when.”

While these surprises keep us sharp and nimble, they often create additional distress in an already-busy workday.

It’s wise, therefore, to reserve time in your calendar each day to respond to unexpected tasks.

  1. Set boundaries.

Many faculty and staff no longer have a daily commute to and from their respective offices.

Whenever you can, set boundaries. Instead of your commute, consider some wellness activities like yoga, mindfulness practices, journaling or other physical exercise.

Try cooking some new recipes you’ve wanted to taste. Carve out a 30-minute reading window in the evening when you otherwise would have been driving home.

  1. Find ways to make meaningful connections and ask for help.

As humans, we are naturally social. We all seek interactions that create a sense of belonging.

Community is more essential now than ever, so when you feel overwhelmed or alone, find someone to talk to. Chances are good that the person listening will not only help alleviate some of the feelings you have, but will also be able to empathize in a genuine way.

Use Microsoft Teams or Zoom to collaborate with colleagues, or simply to catch up. Visit the Virtual Engagement site for more ideas on connecting remotely. For additional remote work resources and links to other collaborative tools, check out the WashU IT department’s Telecommuting Resources page.

Attend one of the monthly, 30-minute Meetaway events to catch up with people you haven’t seen in a while and meet other WashU colleagues.

If you’re looking for personal advice, Work-Life Solutions (EAP) is here for you. This service offers direct, confidential, 24/7 access to a Guidance Consultant who will answer your questions and can refer you to a counselor or other help. Call 844-365-4587 to get started. View more mental health resources here.

Lastly, benefits-eligible employees can schedule up to four free wellness sessions with MyWay to Health consultants each year. These experts provide holistic advice and accountability to help you reach your well-being goals by focusing on nutrition, weight management, sleep, stress and physical activity. Create an account and schedule an appointment today.