Since remote tasks can be done online, it was only a matter of time before people discovered they could go to work without literally going to work.
The concept of working from home was strengthened, especially during the pandemic where physical contact was limited.
While you can get tons of benefits from WFH, research also brought light to the adverse effects of working from home setup on your health. This was surprising considering you get more liberty with remote work. Hence, it should be easier to get healthy.
But this was not the case at all.
According to Statista, about 50% of people working from home during the pandemic feel stressed. Although this could easily be linked to the viral outbreak, it supports the notion that WFH has its own set of health impacts.
Can Working From Home Cause Health Problems?
Unfortunately, working from home can lead to some health problems linked to weight gain, ergonomic injuries, psychological issues, and environmental triggers.
Furthermore, lifestyle also influences the development of health conditions among those who telecommute. This includes sleeping habits, eating patterns, and lack of exercise.
For example, most employees who work from home, especially flexible hours, tend to have irregular sleeping schedules. This could result in hormonal imbalances leading to various chronic conditions.
But with more information surfacing about the physical and mental effects of working from home, it becomes more apparent that workers opt to go for healthy choices even as they don’t leave the house.
8 Tips on Staying Healthy While Working Remotely At Home
While most people consider their homes as their comfort zones, this perception may not be enough to ensure good health.
Here are some valuable tips you can consider to keep you healthy while working from home.
- Set Up Your Home Office
During the birth of the WFH set-up – long before the pandemic happened – remote workers were already advised to have a home office. The purpose is not for luxury but practicality.
Having a home office ensures that you can work comfortably, promoting good posture. Back pain is associated with prolonged sitting, which can be pretty common for people working from home.
According to the CDC, an office chair with an armrest and back support will help you maintain an upright position. This will prevent lower back pain as it keeps the curvature of your spine, providing lumbar support.
Moreover, having a home office allows you to focus more on work. For instance, if you decide to stay in your living room, there’s a good chance that you’ll easily get distracted. It could be the television tempting you to forget work or kids running around.
But if you have a home office, you can concentrate on the task at hand.
- Keep a Healthy Diet and Meal Schedule
Nutrition plays a crucial part in keeping good health. But unfortunately, your healthy diet can still get derailed despite being closer to your kitchen when working from home. This happens when you go for unhealthy food choices or rely too much on fast food deliveries.
According to the American Family Physician clinical journal, a balanced and nutritious diet include unprocessed food, plant-based fats and proteins, fruits and vegetables, and limited sugar that doesn’t exceed 10% of the daily caloric intake.
On the other hand, skipping meals also has adverse effects. It reduces your energy and leads to nutrient deficiencies.
Skipping meals could be inevitable when working from home, especially if you get engrossed with work. Hence, it is crucial to ensure a healthy diet starting with being mindful of its frequency and composition.
- Stay Hydrated
Drinking water regularly and sufficiently protects your tissues from damage. It allows your digestive system to function appropriately, increases protection against infection and prevents organ damage.
Despite the apparent benefits of hydration, people who work from home often overlook it. Part of the reasons could be too much concentration on work or simply their choice to postpone fluid intake.
That’s why it is crucial to have a container large enough to supply at least 3 liters of water nearby. With better access, you can fulfill the recommended intake of about eight glasses of water a day.
On the other hand, if you drink coffee during work, you can also add your cup intake to your daily fluid consumption.
- Include Exercise in Your Schedule
Exercise remains a non-negotiable part of a healthy lifestyle. It regulates your cholesterol and sugar levels protecting you from chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension.
Plus, regular exercise keeps you fit. It’s a crucial step for achieving your ideal weight and body mass index (BMI).
However, working from home makes it easier to get drawn to a sedentary lifestyle. After all, you spend the day in front of a computer and sitting for long hours.
Moreover, remote working also limits physical activities since you have a lesser need to walk around the office or anywhere else.
Nonetheless, to steer away from inactivity that could jeopardize your health, it helps to develop a routine and a particular time allotment for exercise.
- Get Enough Sunlight
Confinement, especially with the normalization of working from home, led to limited sunlight exposure. As a result, health problems involving vitamin d deficiency arise.
Your body does not naturally produce vitamin d without a stimulus, and that stimulus is sunlight. Vitamin d plays an essential role in calcium absorption, bone and muscular functions, and protection against various diseases.
If you have been telecommuting, it’s easier to neglect vitamin D deficiency. That’s why it’s best to always assess your health and be on the lookout for unusual conditions.
Moreover, if your exposure to sunlight goes less, you can opt to get a vitamin d blood test. This way, you can get a proper diagnosis and proceed with a recommended regimen, such as going out at certain times of the day or taking a supplement.
While staying inside makes sense when working from home, your susceptibility to vitamin d deficiency should convince you to go outside and get enough sunlight. To do this, you should apply proper time management throughout the day.
- Practice Self-Care
Considering the benefits of working from home, including stress reduction, it was baffling when research suggested that telecommuting can still lead to anxiety, depression, and exhaustion.
In a 2020 study published in BMC Public Health, it was found that factors like work overload, lack of social connectedness, and family conflict, among others, influence the mental health state of people working from home. Moreover, women also tend to get more affected than men.
With this data, practicing self-care is even more imperative. Self-care is paying more attention to your mental and physical state. You address health issues through practical ways like meditation, relaxation, and becoming selective with your diet.
The goal of self-care is to reduce your stress and anxiety and tackle problems in your physical health. Each person may have different ways of practicing self-care but as long as the goals are met with the approval of your physician, then, by all means, go with it.
- Ensure Socialization
Another way to keep yourself far from stress and anxiety is through socialization. Whether it’s done virtually or physically, taking time to catch up with your friends or be around your inner circle can pump those happy hormones.
With the WFH setup, losing connection with people outside your home can become a norm, especially for those who get too comfortable with less human contact. But despite your preference to be by yourself, this choice can cause harm to your mental health.
Therefore, it’s imperative to socialize or get reconnected for the sake of your wellness.
- Take Health Issues Seriously
Staying at home suggests that you’re farther from harm and health constraints than when you’re working in an office, factory, or facility. Unfortunately, because of this misconception, people working from home tend to neglect “tolerable” conditions such as headaches, dizziness, pain, etc.
In some cases, symptoms of a serious condition are associated with mild diseases deemed to be cured with home remedies.
Nevertheless, even if you’re telecommuting, it’s best to have a general wellness checkup from time to time. It allows you to assess your overall health and detect any conditions before they can escalate into something worse.
Fortunately, you can book a doctor’s appointment or order a blood test online. This way, you don’t have to worry too much about taking a huge chunk of time from your working hours.
Occupational health should be part of the programs and priorities of any organization, business, or firm.
Despite the comforts of working from home, there’s no denying that it still comes with potential health issues.
Therefore, it’s only fitting to remain cautious with your choices, particularly the routine that promotes a sedentary lifestyle. Time management plays a crucial role in staying healthy while working from home.
So, create a viable schedule that favors your health and don’t neglect any health issues you experience. Then, see your doctor and get tested as soon as you can.