Working from home (WFH) has become increasingly popular over the last few years. Studies have suggested that it has a positive impact on health, both physically and mentally.
Have you ever thought about the health benefits of working from home? Since the pandemic, some companies have implemented a work-from-home or remote work system. The 2020 Owl Labs study showed that as many as 70% of full-time workers worked from home during Covid19. Initially, individuals faced a more challenging balance between home life and work. They had to adapt to new technology, hold video meetings, and stay productive at home.
During Covid19, there have been many unexpected benefits and challenges. Employees have more time to exercise at home and sleep longer. But working from home also has negative effects. The Guardian mentioned that remote workers spend more time at their desks. 80% of UK workers also feel that working from home hurts their mental health.
So which should you choose? Before deciding, scroll down and read the explanation below to the end.
Working From Home Health Benefits
Working from home is now easier than ten years ago. People can collaborate, communicate, and quickly access software with just one click. Workers can save documents in the cloud and access them anytime. Plus, workers also get many physical and mental health benefits, such as:
1. Reduced stress
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines burnout as a chronic workplace stress syndrome. It is indicated by exhaustion, energy depletion, and negative feelings that always arise when starting work. Whether good or bad, the work environment directly affects emotional and mental health.
In a survey conducted by FlexJobs and Mental Health America (MHA), as many as 76% of respondents agreed that stress at work affects mental health. Meanwhile, 51% said that workers who received emotional support from work reduced their stress levels. 56% said that flexibility in working days was the best support to reduce stress.
Working from home offers flexibility, but that doesn't mean you can be hindered by stress. WFH requires the same dedication as working in the office. Yet, working from home allows employees to control their schedules and lives.
2. Avoid fast food habits
Eating healthy foods is easier when you don't rely on the local fast-food place in the office. Working from home boosts opportunities to cook healthy food for lunch or breakfast. Workers can arrange their working hours to have enough time to cook and eat.
3. Improved physical health
You don't have to be stuck in the office all day or commute for 30 minutes to get to the office. The fact proves that remote working improves physical health. You can use the time before work to meditate or exercise. Another option is meditation, which can help prevent high blood pressure.
4. Better work-life balance
Working remotely or from home allows you to set the most comfortable working hours. If you like the early morning hours, you can wake up at dawn and work. Or you're a night owl; you don't have to worry about being in the office all day. Remote workers have the best work-life balance. A Future Forum Pulse Summer Snapshot survey said that remote workers had the highest satisfaction with work-life balance.
5. There is no need to postpone medical examinations
Office workers must take paid leave if they want to visit a doctor. In contrast, home-based workers can make appointments more flexibly. Working from home allows for doctor visits without losing a day off.
Working From Office Health Benefits
Only some people are suited to working from home or remotely. According to Michael Mazius, a psychologist and director at the North Shore Center, working from home is not always good for mental health. He believes working from an office fosters happiness, just like social interaction. Working from the office has more advantages in terms of collaboration and communication than working from home. But, it also affects mental health, such as:
1. Social interactions that foster happiness
People need people. Getting back to the office will satisfy our natural need for socialisation. Plus, meeting and interacting allow you to empathise with others. There is happiness in seeing the person we talk to in real life, not on a video screen.
2. Work-life balance
Working from the office is an opportunity to balance work and life. Some people feel that a home-based job increases stress. An article from Fast Company states that remote work worsens mental health. They find it challenging to escape after working hours and even feel lonely.
When you return to the office, there is a new opportunity to change monotonous routines. You start waking up early, doing morning routines, going to work and going home. Finally, you have free time without thinking of work.
Tips for staying healthy when working remotely
If you are a remote worker, here are some tips for taking care of your health. Remember, self-care and health are important parts of life. It's the best way to stay happy and productive while working from home.
- Add exercise to your calendar: Even those who exercise regularly can get sick. So the key is to rearrange your exercise habits. Don't exercise excessively, but consistently.
- Make self-care a priority: Block off time in your calendar for each self-care session. It can improve your social relationship and boost productivity.
- Find the best and most active way to work: You can hold meetings while standing or watch webinars on a treadmill. Modify your desk with a standing model.
- Make exercise more productive: Try listening to podcasts while exercising. Or, if you are still having trouble, try following meditation that offers instructions combined with new knowledge.
- Maximise technology to gain focus: Use timers, reminders, or productivity trackers to boost productivity. Technology can destroy your focus, but it can also maximise it.
- Take a break from the desk: Take a moment to drink tea or make your favourite coffee. Go outside for lunch and relax. It will refresh your mind before returning to your desk.
- Foster responsible screen time: It is essential to recognise that excessive screen time can have adverse effects on individuals, including eye strain, fatigue, and decreased motivation. This will lead to negative work performance. Encouraging regular breaks, setting realistic work goals, and providing ergonomic tools and training are some effective ways to promote responsible screen time.
The choice between working from home and the office is highly personal and depends on various factors. In terms of health, both options have pros and cons as well. Working from home can provide the following:
- A better work-life balance
- Less exposure to germs
- More control over one's environment
However, it can also lead to a sedentary lifestyle, lack of physical activity, and unhealthy habits like snacking and overworking.
On the other hand, working from an office can promote movement, social interactions, and better ergonomic conditions. However, it may also expose workers to germs, air pollution, and the stress of commuting.
Whether working from home or working from the office, trying a project management tool using VirtualSpace can be your option. The better you organise your project, the better the outcomes for your health.