29 May, 2022

The global pandemic made working from home a routine for most. Millions of people said goodbye to their commute to work, whilst proving that it’s no longer necessary to be in an office full-time to be a productive member of the team.

In fact, many kinds of work can be done just as effectively, if not more so, from home.

But did you know that your home working station, whether that’s your office, bedroom, or kitchen side bench could be surrounded by chemicals that may be harmful? Not to worry. There are things you can do to reduce your chemical burden and your risk of breast cancer.

Where can you find these?

EDCs are used in everyday products such as cosmetics, cleaning sprays, packaging, and fabrics. They are even present in the food we eat. Many last for a very long time in the environment.

What can you do?

Your home may be a source of potentially harmful chemicals such as EDCs,. From flame retardants in your furniture or carpets to parfum and synthetic musks in your candles and air fresheners. We suggest looking for furniture that states it’s free from toxic flame retardants. If it doesn’t say this, you can assume it contains these toxic chemicals.

Flame retardants are commonly found in new furniture, carpets, and other soft furnishings, so we suggest using second-hand furniture or airing all newly bought furniture! You can read more on flame retardants here.

House plants are a great alternative to air fresheners as they are natural air detoxifiers and fresh flowers can provide scent. Good ones to try include snake plants, Boston ferns, peace lilies, and aloe plants to help purify the air.

Our team at Breast Cancer UK have always been avid followers of the WFH route – even since before the pandemic! So as WFH experts (or so we like to think) each member of the team has come up with their top tip on how to become a successful remote worker.

Working from home tips:

Thalie MartiniThalie:

I keep the kettle and snacks downstairs or in another room, so I have to stand up to get my cuppa. This way I get some regular movement throughout the day. And I avoid being sedentary for too long.




Elinor DorrelEllie:

Keeping hydrated is really important to help you stay focused during the day. There’s no water cooler at home, so I always have a jug of water on the desk to make sure I drink the recommended daily amount.




Grace WilliamsGrace:

Organisation. It can be hard to organise when WFH, so I have organised my desk with pen pots, file organisers and boxes, I even have to-do-lists pads, a desk mat, and coasters. I have made it a relaxing yet organised space ready for the day ahead!



Lisa reynoldsLisa:

I try to do a bit of yoga at lunch below is the link I use to a series of yoga stretches for people who sit at a desk all day: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNCb7ZcbYSo




Phill PurdyPhill:

Get wired…working from home can put a strain on your Wi-Fi, especially if others in your home are online at the same time as you. So, I have gone old school and ran an ethernet cable between my device and my internet router for a more stable, faster connection – I never have that embarrassing screen-freeze in important meetings anymore!



Patricia BischofPatricia:

I invested in a smartwatch which tells you to get up every hour. Walk around during meetings if possible. I always go for a walk at least once a day and schedule it the day before.




Margaret WexlerMarg:

Every day I go for a walk or bike ride (or a run in the summer), usually in the afternoon or late morning – even if it’s a cold or a wet, winter’s day. This, along with a standing desk (a cupboard just the right height), has meant I no longer suffer back pain.



Victoria GoldsmithVictoria:

Sometimes it can be too quiet, I pop the radio on low for background noise, so it feels like an office. I also make sure I have a regular lunchbreak as you would when in an office




Lydia FergusonLydia:

I always keep my work to-do list and life admin to-do list separate so I do not get distracted and can keep boundaries between work and home life.




Louise BowersLou:

I have a routine to get me in and out of work, which helps separate work and home life.  When I finish work, I like to exercise to get me out of the house and make that switch over from work life to home life cleaner. The time I would have spent commuting is now my time to get fit.



Anna MackmanAnna:

I make sure I take my breaks! It’s all too easy to carry on working over your lunch break, or for your 5:30pm finish to drift into 5:45pm, 6pm or later, because you just want to finish something off. I try setting an alarm on my phone to remind me when it’s time to stop! I find I work so much more efficiently and get more done if I’m refreshed.



Bonus tip: Socialise – ensure you attend or organise regular social events with your colleagues. We use teams to have virtual coffee breaks/catchups and have a dedicated team chat for non-work chats.

Check out our blog How to reduce your exposure to potentially harmful chemicals in the home for more tips.

Your donations make our work possible. Help fund our research into EDCs – you can help prevent breast cancer for future generations. Donate today

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