The idea of working from home is often hotly debated. On one side, there are those who adore their home office — they value the flexibility afforded and appreciate the lack of a daily commute — while at the opposite end of the scale, the phrase working from home is enough to send shivers down the spines of the office-loyal opposition.
But no matter which side you relate to, working from home can actually do wonders for your health. Studies have shown that working remotely can help reduce stress and improve your overall mood (provided you’re not the type to thrive on office gossip and water cooler banter). Research has even linked remote work with increased productivity and employee retention.
Working from home can be challenging at times, but if done right it could be a great boost for your mental and physical health — we’ll explain how below:
Reduced Stress and Burnout
Let’s face it — the familiarity and home comforts provided by your own living and working space allow for a far more flexible working environment than the hemmed-in cubicles of the office. Feeling burned out by endless Excel spreadsheets? Take a break! Struggling to deal with a client’s unrealistic requests? Give your pet some love for a minute or so! Working from an office, employees are (consciously or otherwise) forced to present an ‘always on’ image, lest their coworkers view them as lazy or unproductive. Working remotely means you’re free to take a breather without any snide sideways glances from cynical coworkers.
Less Time Spent on Stressful Commutes
A frightening percentage of people in the UK have reported that commuting to work has a negative impact on their health. In fact, studies have shown that the average British commuter loses out on around 42 hours of their life every year.
Commuting to work can load a lot of added pressure on you, as well as often being frustrating and tiresome. Working from home can help reduce the amount of time you spend stuck in traffic, or squashed in like a sardine on public transport. This can help reduce stress and give you a healthy balance between life and work. It may also allow you to walk or cycle to work if you live close enough to do so which can help improve your health.
The Chance to Eat Healthier Meals
Working from home gives you the freedom to eat healthier meals. This can reduce that sluggish, post-1 pm slump brought on by sugar overload, and by using your home workspace you’ll be able to avoid the temptation of all the (admittedly delicious) junk food offered on the high street by your local office. The time you’ve saved from avoiding the commute can now be spent preparing a healthy breakfast.
Instead of gorging on fast food in the afternoon, you can spend part of your lunch break cobbling together something hearty and homemade in your kitchen. In any case, working from home can help your diet, and eating better will help you feel more energized and focused during your working day.
A Fully Customizable Office
Working from home gives you the chance to fully customize your office space. This can help you feel more productive, as you can choose the best desk and chair combination that suits you. Working in a home office could also help to reduce the risk of distraction that can come with working in a shared office — there’s no chance of any annoyance brought on by nattering colleagues or the general ambience of the space.
Remote work can even open up a literal world of possibilities for customizing your work environment — always dreamed of living (and working) amongst snow-capped mountains or lush, green forests? Thankfully, using an employer of record service from a provider such as Remote, an increasing number of employers are more than happy to employ international workers, and so it’s not uncommon to see, for example, managers in the US hiring employees in Canada, Europe, or even further afield. With a hybrid or fully-remote working setup, the world can truly be your oyster!
Working from home gives employees the chance to reduce distractions and keep focused on the work at hand. Working from home also gives employees the chance to work at a time that best suits their lifestyle and schedule.
The Opportunity to Sleep In
A good night’s sleep is vital to our physical as well as mental health: in fact, a healthy sleep pattern is just as important to your overall health as diet or exercise, helping to improve brain performance and enhance your mood. Insufficient sleep can lead to bad habits — we eat more and exercise less when we’re tired — so it’s vital to get a good 7+ hours of shuteye per night.
By avoiding the aforementioned commute and having more time to sleep in, you can ensure you’re getting enough sleep to keep you alert and productive during your working day. If you’re typically an early riser anyway, why not use the time you’d otherwise spend traveling to the office doing something a little more mindful: you could go for a walk (or a run), read a book, or even do a quick at-home yoga or workout session before your day begins.
Reduced Exposure To Illness
Working from home could help you avoid catching a cold, flu, or any other nasty illness that may be making the rounds in the office. This is because you’re unlikely to come into contact with many germs through touching door handles, using public toilets, or being around people who may be sick but aren’t yet showing symptoms.
Of course, in an ideal world, the pandemic would’ve taught us all to stay away from the office if we’re ill, but that still doesn’t seem to be the case. Some employees are still more than happy to visit the office if their symptoms are mild (infecting all of their coworkers in the process!). It’s a simple solution — avoid the common cold, seasonal flu, and COVID by working from home — why risk sickness?