8 Health Risks of Working From Home (And How to Avoid Them!)
Changes in the workforce over the years has resulted in more people working from home than ever before. While this may be a dream come true for many, that doesn’t mean it comes without its own set of potential ups and downs. Whether you run your own business from home or enjoy a remote work position, home office health should be an important priority to your routine.
Unfortunately, too often this element of working from home goes overlooked. To help get you back on track and circumvent potentially negative impacts to your well-being, we’re discussing eight health risks of working from home and what you can do to avoid them.
Common Health Risks of Working From Home
Working from home can be an incredible opportunity for you. As companies are recognizing the productivity and financial benefits of remote workers, many are pivoting to a largely-remote workforce. Those who own their own businesses may also enjoy the benefits of working from home! But what about your home office health?
The importance of prioritizing home office health encompasses many considerations from how you’ve arranged a home office setup to taking active breaks away from work. To help you optimize your home office health, consider these common health risks of working from home and learn how to avoid them:
- Burnout from working too much
- Stress and anxiety from your workload
- Loneliness or occasional feelings of isolation
- Lower back pain
- Poor posture
- Text neck
- Unintentional weight gain
- Poor sleep quality
Home Office Burnout
One of the most common health risks of working from home might slip right under your radar until you’re feeling the effects full force: burnout. While working from home can be a relief from the hustle and bustle of going into the office, it can also quickly lead to excessive work hours and burnout.
When you’re working from home, consider setting a schedule or your work hours. It may take some discipline to not jump and answer that email at 8pm, but setting boundaries can be crucial to practicing good home office health. When you’re done for the day, shut your home office door or clear the workspace you’re using to maintain a separation between your professional and personal time. The difference this simple adjustment makes can be astronomical.
Anxiety and Stress From Working At Home
Just because you’re working from more comfortable surroundings doesn’t mean the stress of work evaporates. Another of the most common health risks of working from home is stress and anxiety. This may be the result of feeling disconnected from coworkers, a boss, or the business as a whole. It can also be a result of not having enough structure to your day, leading to feelings of work overwhelming you.
Setting a schedule for each day and prioritizing important tasks is one simple method for improving home office health against stress and anxiety. Another is to include methods for handling stress management into your routine.
For example, incorporating a zero gravity chair into your home office setup gives you an alternative workspace to use throughout your day. While you may not be able to shift to one entirely, there are plenty of items to pair with zero gravity chairs that make working from one for part of your day both manageable and ideal. One of the potential health benefits of zero gravity chairs is stress management as your body and mind relax. This could also help improve your mood and mental clarity, which experts agree may lead to increases in productivity.
Feeling Isolated Working From Home
As humans, we’re social beings. While some of us may be introverts at heart, we still benefit from some social interaction with others. This means that another of the potential health risks of working from home is the occasional feeling of isolation or loneliness. Even periodic social interactions can contribute to fighting feelings of depression or anxiety and improve home office health overall.
How can you be social when working from home by yourself? Thankfully, technology has the upper hand here. Social interaction doesn’t always have to be in person. Video conferencing platforms like Zoom and FaceTime make engaging with others easier than ever. If you’re not feeling like being on camera, text platforms like Slack can also provide a great way to stay connected with teammates without stepping beyond your comfort zone.
Lower Back Pain
Some health risks of working from home are physical. While you may wonder how you could become physically injured working from a home office, it’s both very possible and very common. One of the biggest risks to your home office health is lower back pain. This can stem from a variety of factors ranging from poor posture to ignoring the benefits of an ergonomic home office setup.
One of the most common causes of back pain you may be overlooking is your chair. Choosing an ergonomic work chair is important to prevent excess pressure on your lower back and pelvic region. While an ergonomic chair at your desk is helpful, having a luxury zero gravity chair could noticeably boost home office health, as well. These multifunctional furniture ideas have become immensely popular for aiding in chronic back pain relief and for use as a potentially effective sciatica treatment at home.
The benefit of zero gravity chairs for back pain stems from their design. As opposed to traditional recliners, which actually focus excess pressure on the lower back and pelvis, zero gravity chairs recliner further into what is known as the zero gravity position. In the zero gravity position, the legs are elevated above the heart level, alleviating pressure from the spine and distributing weight evenly along the body. This serves as a catalyst for better blood flow, which delivers essential oxygen and nutrients to spinal discs, rehydrating them and enhancing how the body heals itself.
As little as 20 minutes a day using a zero gravity chair in your home office setup could help you avoid some of the health risks of working from home and provide the equivalent of 8 to 10 hours worth of spinal healing. Bonus features of zero gravity luxury recliners such as zero gravity chairs with massage features or heated zero gravity chairs could help take these benefits a step further and boost home office health even more.
Effects of Poor Posture While Working From Home
Continuing in our exploration of health risks of working from home and how to avoid them brings us to poor posture. Poor posture is a bad sitting habit that you may be unknowingly practicing!
One of the biggest risks of poor posture to your home office health is restricting blood flow throughout the body. Poor blood circulation can result in leg and thigh pain, swelling, and an increased risk for developing cardiovascular disease. Poor posture has also been directly associated with negative impacts to respiratory function and mental health, as well, making it imperative for your health as a whole.
Having an ergonomic workspace is one of the easiest methods for avoiding poor posture and other health risks of working from home. In the wrong office chair, for example, you may have to sit too far up in your chair (or too far back, which is just as bad) resulting in your feet and knees not aligning properly. You may also be at an inappropriate height for your screen level, causing you to subconsciously lean forward while working at your desk.
Any misalignment of the body forces it to work hard to support yourself as you work and can contribute to back pain, muscle fatigue, and reduce productivity. Poor posture also has the potential to contribute to other more permanent impacts to home office health such as adult kyphosis.
Having an ergonomic chair and integrating a zero gravity chair into your home office setup are both excellent solutions to help improve posture. While it may take some time to completely correct your bad sitting habits, after a while it will become second nature and help you maintain better home office health.
Developing Text Neck
The next item on our list of health risks of working from home is commonly referred to as “text neck.” As we tilt our heads to look at our cell phones, the effective weight of the human head increases. This same principle works against us when it comes to hunching over at the shoulders to look at our computers or tablets, as well.
To avoid this and practice good home office health, make sure your screen is at the appropriate level for your height and make mental efforts to correct any hunching you may be subconsciously doing.
Unintentional Weight Gain
While you may think that physical pain or mental health effects may be the extent of the health risks of working from home, there are other, perhaps more subtle, impacts that can happen, as well. Working from home makes it much easier for us to keep snacks readily available or accidentally indulge in fast food for a quick lunch. These choices can lead to negative home office health impacts like obesity, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure.
Staying active and keeping healthy snack options around the house are a few simple ways to avoid unintentional weight gain while working from home. Doing exercises to stay loose at work keeps you from being too sedentary while healthier snacks are both more filling and guilt-free indulgences.
Poor Sleep Quality
Last, but not least, in our exploration of health risks of working from home is poor sleep quality. Staring at screens all day increases our blue light exposure, which can disrupt our natural circadian rhythm and make it more difficult for us to fall asleep (and stay asleep).
Health experts recommend adults get 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. One way to boost home office health is to limit screen time in the evenings and replace it with a relaxing night time routine like taking a warm shower, unwinding in a zero gravity chair while reading a favorite book, or journaling to clear your mind before bed. Getting better sleep quality can help improve productivity, mental clarity, and your overall home office health.
As you’ve learned, the health risks of working from home are important to recognize in order to avoid them. Simple adjustments in your routine like taking active breaks, practicing good posture, or choosing a zero gravity chair to add to your home office setup can go a long way to protecting your overall well-being. Try these changes to see the difference they make in your home office health and enjoy working from home!
Zero gravity chairs can benefit any place in your home. To learn more about their benefits and uses, check out these resources: