The impact of remote work on sleep is real. While some people feel positively affected, others have experienced the negative impact of remote work.
In 2020, Covid19 led to a global shift to working from home. Initially, workers enjoyed a better work-life balance and more time for hobbies. However, longer working hours, loneliness and isolation also affected some remote workers.
Apart from that, most employees prefer to work remotely. According to Buffer, 98% of employees would like to continue working from home after the pandemic. At the same time, 40% say they are sleep deprived, and it's getting worse. Also, our bedtime routine has been affected since we started working remotely.
How your sleep routines have changed
The bed's over there, and you can see it. During the pandemic, makeshift offices sprang up in dining rooms, bedroom corners, and living rooms. It has disrupted people's usual sleep routines.
Dr Melissa Milanak, Medical University of South Carolina, said the pandemic gave people more freedom. She added that people didn't have to go to work or stick to a regular schedule. It leads to inconsistent sleep hours.
Remote employees may think they can stay up as late as they want. They don't have to wake up early and go to the office, which leads to forgetting when to feel tired and excited.
Research showed that sleep-deprived people feel more lonely and socialise less. Remote working activities limit physical interaction and drive Zoom fatigue. Remote workers tended to sit more than seven hours daily and walk less than 1,000 steps. According to Upright Pose, The recommended number of steps is 10,000.
7 Ways how Remote Work has affected your sleep
Remote work can impact people's sleep routines, including quality and hours of sleep. Here are ten ways remote work can affect sleep:
1. Work combined with childcare
Many activities shifted to home during the pandemic, including studying at school. Some working parents have to balance their responsibilities with childcare. A study revealed that changes in schedules and routines, such as children studying at home, can lead to reduced sleep.
2. It blurs the line between work and rest
Remote work offers flexibility but can blur the line between work and rest. Employees are free to work anywhere, including their beds. As a result, the body finds it difficult to differentiate between work and rest time. Use the workspace during working hours and avoid working in bed. It affects productivity and posture.
3. Toxic environment causing stress
Better Sleep Council shows that 44% of stressed workers have more trouble sleeping. Employees who are underappreciated at work also experience poor sleep quality. Plus, 18% of employees who don't enjoy their jobs don't sleep well. Unfriendly work environment factors also reduce sleep quality.
4. Too much news can interfere with sleep
The pandemic increased anxiety for many workers. According to WHO, Covid19 increased global anxiety and depression by 25%. Sleep Cycle also explained that anxiety and excessive news consumption have kept people awake during the pandemic. Worries about health, world conditions, finances and jobs prevent peaceful rest.
5. Less travel time, better sleep quality
Remote work also improves sleep quality for some people. They don't need to drive or get stuck on the way to work. They can use the time they drive to exercise or sleep longer. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine showed that commuting to work reduced sleep duration by 28% and 35%.
6. Increased screen time negatively affects sleep quality
Remote employees tend to work longer hours than usual. Nature Human Behavior mentioned that remote employees spend 10% longer logging in weekly. That equates to an additional four hours each week. The blue light from electronic devices can disrupt melatonin production, so it's best to limit device use at night.
7. Lack of physical activity negatively affects sleep
Although some people assume that remote working allows more exercise time, the reality is different. Sleep Uncovered found that exercise intensity decreased during the epidemic. 28% of respondents said they had not exercised during COVID.
5 Tips for Getting Better Sleep for Remote Workers
Lack of sleep has an impact on health and the world economy. The economic losses from sleep deprivation are reaching A$14.4 billion in direct losses. Meanwhile, non-financial reached A$36.6, such as loss of well-being. Here's how to get optimal sleep while working remotely:
1. Stick to a consistent sleep schedule
Even if you don't have to wake up early, try to sleep and wake up simultaneously. Consistent bedtime and wake times will maintain a healthy sleep duration. It also helps the body fall asleep and wake up more easily. Remember to keep the same schedule on weekends too.
2. Avoid working in bed
Don't work while in bed with your blanket still wrapped around you. Instead, find a different spot to work, such as a dedicated workspace or a coworking space. It helps you to be more productive. When you're done working, leave your workspace to help separate work from leisure.
3. Avoid bright blue light before bedtime
Blue light from smartphones and computer screens inhibits melatonin production in the body. Set a limit screen use two hours before bedtime. Switch to relaxing activities, such as reading or journaling. Consider wearing anti-radiation glasses while working.
4. Set specific working hours
Working from home does not mean working all day. Stick to your regular office hours or set your working hours. Take breaks and rest like you would in an office setting.
Use digital tools to set "do not disturb" times and schedule rest periods. Try "focus mode" from a project management tool using VirtualSpace to manage your focus while working.
Remote workers may feel isolated and miss social interactions with colleagues. Dedicate time to connect with people around you, such as working in a café or going out with friends, to provide a change of environment. It boosts productivity and overall well-being.
Balancing online and offline time while working remotely makes a big difference to sleep. Balancing online and offline time while remote working affects sleep quality. It also affects productivity and work quality. Prioritise getting a good night's sleep so you can wake up happy, healthy, and ready to work.