The modern workplace has transformed over the last two decades. This comes in the backdrop of innovative technology that now makes remote working a reality. More people now find it easier to work from home. Whether you’re a blogger, web designer, digital assistant or accountant, working from home comes with myriad benefits. It’s affordable, convenient, and more flexible.
The idea appeals to millions across the world with 52% of global employees working remotely once a week.
As you shift to remote working, there are some health hazards to watch out for. This post highlights some of these risks you should avoid to enjoy a healthier life.
Sense of Loneliness
Many people would like to step away from the fast-paced and toxic working environment. However, the reality of remote working doesn’t always work out as you envisage. After working around your colleagues for years, it might be tough settling down in a quiet working environment. Many employees suffer loneliness, which can have a big impact on mental wellbeing.
You had friends and confidants in the office and while video conferencing and other communication tools are available, they can never replace that human touch. This isolation can also lower your productivity if you’re used to a highly-active office environment.
Loneliness might not sound like a big problem in remote working. However, it increases the risk of substance abuse, depression, insomnia and other health complications. Before you shift to your home office, take time to prepare your home for the shift. Build a support system from your family and friends who’ll be easily available to cheer you up when you’re down.
Risk of Being Overweight
As more people shift to remote offices, there’s an increased risk of obesity and becoming overweight. Working from home means you’ll virtually stay indoors around the clock. As your family leaves in the morning, you transition to the office but with no movement. This sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of adding weight, which comes with myriad health risks.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), lack of activity increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and obesity, colon cancer, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, depression and anxiety.
There’s a huge difference between your regular office and the work space at home. The commute to work, office walks, walking across the park, and other movements are part of your daily exercises. They help you keep fit and promote heart health. At home, you’ll move from the bedroom to the office, and this is where you’ll spend most of your day.
Luckily, you can overcome these health challenges by incorporating exercises in your daily life. Avoid working continuously at your desk, walk around the neighborhood, jog, join a gym or walk your dog. These are just a few examples of activities you can add to your life to shed off those pounds and avert the consequences that come with excess weight.
How did you shift from your regular office to the home office? How comfortable is your home office? Your answer to these two questions might reveal the reason you’re experiencing low back pain. For most people, the shift to a home office was not properly organized. This means there was no office seat or table and you might be using an ordinary house chair.
Poor ergonomics is one of the biggest risks in the remote working industry. Most people working from home had a haphazard shift from their regular offices with no time or resources to prepare their new working space. If your seat and table aren’t optimized for office work, it won’t take long before you suffer back pains.
If you experience low back pain or neck pain, it means you’re straining your back and the damage could extend to other sensitive body parts. The last thing you want is to hurt your spine because you’ll have to suffer with chronic pain and medications for the rest of your life.
Low back pain is the main cause of disability and it can turn your life upside down. For this reason, you need to invest in ergonomic office furniture for your home office. Always take breaks in between your work to relieve the pressure off your back. Other problems related to poor posture include, spinal dysfunction/disorders, rounded shoulders, joint degeneration, headaches, among other health problems.
Risk of Hearing Problems
To deliver the best results and to avoid distractions, most freelancers and work-from-home employees always have their headphones on. It’s an easy way to entertain yourself while at the same time working. This might not be possible at the office where your colleagues or the boss might require your oral input.
But these audio devices pose a big risk to your hearing. If you’re always listening to music on your laptop, there’s a big risk of damaging your hearing. Long hours on earphones and headphones tops the activities that cause hearing loss. This is a big risk to bloggers who want to get motivation from their favorite musicians or podcasts.
The enthusiasm and excitement of working from home and delivering great results can lead you to overwork. There’s a blurred line between work and home, which means you might end up pushing yourself too hard. With no supervisor behind your back and lack of a routine, you might end up doing a lot more work.
At the beginning, this might look like a smart idea, but it affects both body and mind. You’ll end up exhausting yourself and with no rest, it’s easy to suffer fatigue or burnout. You’ll start working for the sake of it, leading to poor results.
You can avert this downturn in productivity by creating a schedule of work and sticking to it. Set yourself realistic targets and stick to them. Your schedule should consider your environment, new roles at home and consider your regular amount of work at the former office.
Working from home is fun. You have a more flexible working schedule and environment, get more time with family, and you avoid the tedious daily commute. However, you have to work proactively to promote your health and wellbeing. By learning about these risks of working from home, you can find the best ways to avoid them and stay healthy when working remotely.
Other Risks In Your Home Office
As much as you’ll need to focus on each of the above, there are multiple other office risks that you might need to worry about. These could depend on your particular circumstances, however.
When you’re setting up your home office, you should treat it like a commercial one. That means keeping safety in mind.
With the equipment you might be using, you could worry about electronics. You could have several pieces of equipment that require electrical input.
Many commercial offices have these. Some of the more notable include printers, computers, and much more. You’ll need to make sure that your electrics can tolerate this.
While you shouldn’t have a problem with this, it could be worth looking into electrical safety inspections. Though these typically focus on commercial properties, they can help you too.
Then there’s fire safety. You’ll need to make sure that this isn’t a risk in your home office. There are several ways to do so, including:
- Keep your office clean and clear.
- Have a working smoke detector and extinguisher.
- Plan an escape route.
- Keep flammable materials away from hot places.
By keeping those in mind, you shouldn’t have to worry about many of the common risks in your home office.