Before the pandemic came, an estimated 29 percent of American college graduates worked from home at least some of the time. With the recent changes, the number has increased dramatically.
Working from home has its pros and cons. There is zero commute time and there is more time to personally oversee domestic affairs and childcare. On the flip side, working from home can also lead to the development of bad habits that can affect the health of remote workers.
There is a possibility that remote work is here to stay. If you are one of those who are working from home, you might want to pick your health battles and reevaluate the way you work.
The dark side of working from home
Admittedly, working from home presents new challenges. This Bloomberg article cites that remote workers are now putting in three more hours at work. This redefines the concept of work-life balance as we know it.
But it doesn’t stop there. The new working pattern also brings other disconcerting effects such as:
- Prolonged sitting -- We all know that sitting is dubbed as the “the new smoking” which pertains to the growing epidemic of sedentary lifestyles. We know it can be easy to just sit down while working but this is not the healthiest position for your body. Going overboard causes neck and back pain, which can affect your productivity. And your health is at stake too: Too much sitting is bad for heart health and mental health.
What you can do is add activities throughout your day. It can be standing more or doing stretches. If you can buy an ergonomic desk, do so. A sit-stand desk will allow you to move more, thus helping your body to stay healthy even as you work. Other benefits include improved posture and less body pain, better metabolism, and a healthier mind.
- Longer screen time -- Do you experience eyestrain? Did you gain weight since you started to work from home? Are you having lingering feelings of depression? Those are some of the common effects of facing your gadget for long periods. If you really have to work on the computer for most of the day, you can track your screen time and take breaks in between. After work, you can turn to other activities such as working out, cooking, or tending to your garden. The trick is to stay away from your phone so you can put in more activities into your day.
You can also do a digital detox once a week if you feel the need to disconnect and focus on other things than scrolling through your social media platforms.
- Isolation and loneliness -- Work from home can trigger loneliness as cited in this story from The Guardian. Likewise, this CNN article states that loneliness can affect performance at work. Now more than ever, there is a need to stay connected with colleagues and family members. Be creative and schedule your interactions through virtual meetings or get-togethers.
Gathering yourself together
If you have experienced any of the things that were mentioned above, don’t be afraid to raise the flag and ask for counseling. It’s time to turn your attention to your health as you put the rest of your life in order.