Your cubicle mate won’t stop coughing and you know your bout with this illness is imminent. You sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic for over an hour on your daily commute and you can feel your blood pressure rising. You want to be seen as a team player so you visit the local greasy spoon with your colleagues each day for a quick bite. We all know that work-from-home options are becoming increasingly more available, but can they also be better for your health?
A 2017 Gallup survey found that 43% of Americans said they spent at least some time working remotely. In fact, Gallup has consistently found that flexibility plays a major role in an employee’s decision to take or leave a job. Working from home certainly has its benefits, but how does it impact your health?
Fewer Sick Days
A Canada Life survey found that home workers took fewer sick days than those based in the office. More specifically, employees working in the office took on average 3.1 days of sick leave a year while those working from home only took 1.8 sick days. This is because employees who have a cold or who are only mildly ill can still get work done at home. In contrast, office workers are more inclined to take the entire day off to stay in the comfort of their bed. Additionally, the better work-life balance of the work-from-home employee means they are less likely to get sick in the first place because their stress levels are typically lower.
Less Stress & Better Diet
A 2011 study found that employees who worked from home experienced 25% less stress than their office counterparts. Employees also reported that they were able to maintain a better work-life balance and eat healthier when they were based in a home office. An article from Monster.com interviewing Cofounder of Simple Texting, Felix Dubinksy found several health benefits of working where you sleep. “It’s much easier to keep a healthy diet while eating at home. You save a lot of stressful hours that would have been spent commuting. You can construct a comfortable work environment for yourself. Spend more time with family.”
Some critics argue that working from home can be detrimental to those prone to depression. Working in relative seclusion is not a good fit for everyone. But for those who love the freedom of working from home, and the flexibility that provides, the healthy benefits are certainly noticeable. Alessandra Ceresa, Marketing Director of Greenrope, finds he can balance his daily responsibilities much more effectively when he works remotely, “Because much of what we do is not constrained within the hours of 9-5, I am able to go to the gym in the middle of the day, take a walk, do errands. When I take these sorts of breaks, the moment I sit back down to work, I am focused. My life is balanced because I get all of my work done and have time to actually live my life.”