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Shocking Effects Of Telecommuting And Remote Working On Your Health
More people are working remotely from home than ever before. The practice has been made even more popular with the rise of high-speed internet, and books like Tim Ferriss’ 4-Hour Work Week, published in 2007, helped to popularize the idea. Ever since then, more office workers are beginning to work from home on their laptops, doing the same work they once did in a cubicles avoiding hellish commutes.
Working remotely seems to solve so many problems and by many accounts it does. But what are their hidden downsides to the telecommuting lifestyle? Let’s explore some of the overlooked factors that come with remote working that can potentially affect your health.
Working from Home and How It Relates to Your Health.
A recent report by Health Line News described a study performed at the University of Cardiff in Wales on the positive and negative effects of remote working on employee’s lives. According Dr. Alan Felstead, a professor of Social Science who wrote the study, remote workers are happier because their work does not necessarily obligate them to have to commute to the same place every day.
The downside of working from home, however, can be that remote workers can find it difficult to set boundaries between their professional lives and their professional duties. With remote workers, “work and home often overlap, and it may therefore be more difficult for workers to turn off” at the end of the day, according to Dr. Felstead.
The researchers who assisted in this study found that remote workers were more likely to worry about their work than employees who punch in and punch out at the office. They are also more likely to spend extra time working, versus non-remote workers (40 percent versus 20 percent, respectively).
There is also the issue of social isolation. While remote workers do avoid a lot of the aggravations of the modern workplace, they also do not get the social interaction and camaraderie that comes with working in a more social environment.
Some people are naturally better suited to working on teams, while others work very well on their own. It really depends on the individual, but all human beings are social animals on some level, and prolonged isolation can have a negative effect on your mental and even physical health.
The good news is that these problems are all relatively easy to overcome. With regards to work taking over your life at home, this is simply a matter of discipline and time management. Even though you may not be part of the “normal” 9 to 5 world since you don’t have to leave the house, try adopting a more normal workday at home. Only do work at specific times, and designate other parts of the day strictly for leisure and non-work activities in your personal life.
Teleconferences are a good way to stay in touch with the rest of your team and keep plugged in with what’s happening in the office. Just because you’re not physically together, it doesn’t mean you still be connected. Schedule semi-regular meetings over services like Skype or Zoom, and last but not least— make an effort to meet in person at least once in a while. Which brings us to the next point…
Get out of the house! Just because you can work from home it doesn’t mean you need to spend every day there. As long as you have your phone and a Wi-Fi connection, you can work from anywhere! Try working at a coffee shop or the library. There are also co-working spaces you can pay a monthly fee to be a member of, which are specifically designed for remote workers. Now you get the socialization of a “normal” job, only when you feel like it!
As remote working continues to change the way people do their jobs, more people will have to take advantage of the tips outlined here. Use them well, and enjoy kicking back while your non-remote colleagues are sitting bumper to bumper 😉