The percentage of people working from home has risen dramatically over the past few years in light of the health crisis around the world.
While this is what many people have always dreamt of – the ability to work from home – the nature of remote work has its downsides, and if you don’t work smart, there’s every chance that you could end up jeopardizing your health.
In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at eight of the most surprising health effects that can negatively affect people working from home. We’ll also explain some of the positive effects of remote-based working that are worth keeping in mind.
Negative Effect Of Working From Home
Stress And Burnout
Although working from home might sound reasonably laid-back, it can become incredibly stressful if precautions aren’t taken.
This is because many people find it difficult to set themselves strict times to dedicate to work, which can often lead to working outside of usual hours and subsequent burnout.
Without the routine of getting ready, travelling to work, coffee breaks, lunches, and so on, work can quickly become emotionally overwhelming.
To help offset these feelings, it’s a good idea to set up your “office” away from areas of the house that you associate with relaxing such as the bedroom or the sofa.
Furthermore, it’s helpful to change into regular clothes every morning, apply make-up as usual, and engage in as many video calls and discussions as possible.
At the end of the day, try your very best to avoid the temptation of working late, and store your laptop away for the rest of the evening.
We as human beings are social creatures that thrive with direct and personal socialization. Therefore, it’s hardly surprising that working from home can lead to social isolation and feelings of anxiety, sadness and depression.
To combat these detrimental feelings, it’s important to be as proactive as you can to ensure a good amount of socialization occurs each day.
For example, engage with your colleagues through Zoom and Slack, and reach out to those you normally would to ensure everyone’s spirits stay as high as possible.
Weight Gain And Stress-Eating
When working from home, it’s vitally important that you continue to make the same good dietary choices that you did when you were working in the office in order to remain healthy and prevent unwanted weight gain.
To avoid stress-eating and consuming large amounts of calorie-dense food, it’s beneficial to set yourself some nutrition and health-based goals.
Whether it’s deciding to eat a piece of fruit with your lunch every day or going for a brisk walk in the evening to burn some calories, small changes can make all the difference.
One of the most essential parts of setting up a suitable home office is to provide proper ergonomics.
Finding a comfortable, well-supported chair and a desk that’s the correct height are all important factors to take into account as working long hours in an unbalanced or asymmetric position can lead to discomfort in the back, neck, shoulders, and arms.
While proper ergonomics are essential, it’s equally important to get up and move around every hour or so to avoid stiffness. Moreover, drinking plenty of water throughout the day is great for keeping your muscles hydrated.
If both you and your partner are working remotely from home at the same time, you’re going to be spending significantly more time together than you would if one or both of you were working in the office.
While this might be nice to start with, this constant proximity can be stressful and lead to conflict.
To try and work through relationship problems that are caused by working from home, it’s a good idea to work in different areas of the house for certain periods during the day. It might also be helpful to set aside a small amount of time each day to talk through any stress or tensions.
Working from home typically involves spending most of the day inside and on your laptop or computer. However, to avoid eye strain, headaches and fatigue, it’s important to have daily exposure to a wide range of different light and color frequencies.
To make sure you get this exposure, try breaking up your working day by going outside to enjoy some of the sun and natural night. Alternatively, you could also buy yourself a pair of blue light blocking glasses.
Staring at the screen of your device as you work all day, and then doing the same as you watch TV to relax in the evenings, can result in you staring at your bedroom ceiling all night as you struggle to get to sleep.
To avoid suffering from insomnia and other sleep-related problems, it’s recommended to turn off your laptop, tablet, and cell phone at least two hours before going to bed. This makes it easier for your body to transition into sleep mode.
Social Media Overload
Remote-based working has increased the use of social media. This, however, isn’t necessarily a good thing, with many people often comparing themselves to other people and their posted lives, which can lead to self-esteem problems and depression.
Therefore, if you’re working from home and have easy access to your laptop and phone all day, try and avoid constantly scrolling through social media. It’s a good idea to limit yourself to 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening.
Benefits Of Working From Home
Despite many of the problematic health effects explained above, there are still some benefits of working from home that are worth keeping in mind. Listed below are three of the most prominent.
Less Commute Stress
Wasting time commuting to work is one of the biggest disadvantages of having to work in an office every day. Not only do you have to wake up earlier in the mornings, you also have less time to relax in the evenings.
The extra time and effort saved by not having to commute to work can be great for your mental and physical health. For example, you could use this time to make yourself a healthy breakfast, perform a quick workout, or have extra time resting in bed.
Better Work-Life Balance
Lots of remote-based jobs come with flexible schedules. This control over your work schedule can take away many of the day-to-day stresses, giving you plenty of time to attend to the various needs of your social life.
Whether this is dropping your children off at school or doing the weekly shop, these tasks are made all the more straightforward when you’re able to balance your work hours from home.
Working from home often gives you access to a greater number of job opportunities that aren’t restricted by geographical location. This is especially useful for jobseekers in small towns or rural communities.
The Bottom Line
To conclude, working from home can provide a host of positive and negative health effects. While the drawbacks of remote-based working can have a significant effect on a person’s health, these can also be overcome if you’re aware of the ways in which they can be prevented in the first place.
So, if you’re struggling with the working from home dynamic, don’t let yourself get too overwhelmed. Make sure to give our recommendations a try, and hopefully you’ll see some improvements soon!