It is many people’s dream to work remotely from the comfort of their homes. You get to work in your PJs and underwear if you want—relaxed and at peace. No traffic jams, running late for work, or running from one corner of the office to the other in your corporate hustles.
Working remotly is a more convenient and appealing work-life structure, which explains why the number of freelancers keeps increasing year by year. According to statistics, there were 57 million Americans working in the freelance economy in 2019, up from 53 million in 2014.
In 2022, the worldwide freelance market is estimated to be worth $1.5 trillion and increasing at a CAGR of 15%. 70.4 million Americans currently work as freelancers, with the number of freelancers in the USA forecasted to reach 90.1 million by 2028, and will make up about 50% of the total U.S. workforce.
However, just as there are advantages to working remotely, there are also some notable disadvantages too. One of the major disadvantages that can arise when working remotely is adverse impact on your emotional and physical health and wellbeing.
In this article, we present a professional’s guide to better health while working remotely. But first…
Why Work Remotely?
A 2019 study was conducted by Edelman Intelligence on about 6000 US workers who were 18 years and above. They found out that out of those 6,000 workers, 2,117 were freelancers, and 3,884 were non-freelancers. That demonstrates the extent to which people are shifting priority from working in offices and settling to work remotely from home.
At the moment, many occupations allow people to work remotely. The question is, “why should you work remotely?” This straightforward question births other questions like, “what are the benefits of working remotely, and what is the difference between working at home and working in the office?” All these questions, we will address in this article.
Some of the top reasons to work remotely include:
I. Improved focus
Working in an office with other workers around is not comparable to when you work at home. The first benefit of working from home is that you can focus more intently on your work with less disturbance and noise. This is especially important for creative professionals, like writers, designers, and coders.
It is almost impossible to not encounter interruptions from colleagues at work. These interruptions reduce productivity and efficiency. The majority of the interruptions also turn into long conversations and detours that make you lose your focus.
A study from Stanford University supported this point that working from home helps with focus. They found out that working from home increased efficiency and performance.
II. Rest when you need to
Working in an office or organization entails working for a fixed number of hours. Depending on your niche, the norm is working from 9-5, with lunch breaks inclusive. However, failure to follow this already set mode of operation in the workplace may be seen as rebellious.
This is another reason why working remotely is an excellent option. You can rest at any time you choose. You get to fix your own time plan, depending on your current situation and workload.
III. Saves money
This point may look vague, but it’s true if we break it down properly. Each day you step out of your house for work, money is spent… on gas, dry cleaning, purchase of corporate dresses, tax deductions, transport, car maintenance, lunch breaks, and so on.
Working from home can help you cut down some of those costs since you’re home mostly.
IV. More flexibility
According to a CNBC report, 51% of freelancers say that no amount of money would entice them to take a traditional job. Another reason for that is because they get to work anywhere they like.
As a freelancer, you can decide to walk into a coffee shop at night and work or climb up the nearby mountain to work. No one cares where you work as long you deliver.
While working from home, you also have time to plan and improve other aspects of your life, such as your personal relationships whether you're single or in a committed partnership.
V. No stringent protocols
Unlike traditional offices where rules and regulations are guiding traveling or attendance for essential events. Working remotely allows you to visit anytime you feel without anyone issuing your query. You get to create more time for yourself.
So, how do you stay healthy while working from home?
Tips to Stay Healthy While Working Remotely
As is often the case, nothing is without its disadvantages. As such, there are disadvantages that also come with working remotely from home. For one, if you are not disciplined enough, working from home can make you lazy, because you are in your comfort zone and are your own boss.
Since you are not under any specific authority, you may start to think that you can do whatever you like, whenever you like. You may slack off and start to do things at the last minutes, which can affect your productivity and the quality of your work.
Also, working remotely can have some adverse effects on your health if you’re not careful. For example, the isolation from colleagues can start to affect your mental health. You may even find yourself working long hours nonstop in front of the computer, which can cause ailments.
In order to ensure you stay active and healthy while working from home, remote workers should ensure they do the following key things:
1. Create a routine and stick to it
One of the reasons why working remotely is awesome is because you don’t have to stick to the 9 to 5 routine. However, there is a need to stay structured and organized.
Create a plan or method that you must follow squarely. Schedule your work based on what is best for you and stick to it.
So, whether you are a ‘night owl’ or a morning person, create a scheduled routine that works for you. This will allow you to differentiate free time from work time, ensuring more productivity.
2. Work outside the house from time to time
Working from home can make you stay indoors all day. Studies tell us that staying indoors too much can affect your mental health, with acute feelings of isolation.
Make it a habit to take breaks during your workdays and walk down to the coffee shop, library, or park to work from there. This will be a welcome change of scenery that refreshes you a little.
Also, sitting in one place for hours can affect your health. It can cause body pain, fatigue, and other health issues. Going to an outside location to work will help you get up and move to avoid that.
3. Take regular breaks, move, and exercise
One of the differences between working in offices and working remotely is that in the office you get to exercise continuously. You move from one place to another, taking the sub, or driving for miles to and from work. That way you are always active and moving about, which keeps you fit.
To balance it up when working from home, make sure you exercise regularly to stay physically fit. Take a break from sitting every 30 minutes, stand and stretch a bit. If you work at a desk, try a standing desk — or improvise with a high table or counter.
You can also use indoor exercise equipment like a treadmill to keep yourself physically fit, or go for jogs, walks, or cycling outdoors around your neighborhood to stay fit and healthy. The impact of movement — even leisurely movement — can be profound.
4. Eat a healthy diet to stay healthy and energetic
This is one of the most essential points to living a better and healthy life. Staying at home all day can cause you to consume more. However, it’s crucial to watch and control what you eat.
Eat a healthy diet that includes less sugar and junk foods, and more fruits and vegetable diets that boost your immunity and add nutritional value. while working remotely.
Another important aspect of eating healthy is to drink plenty of water. Consider having a water cooler installed at home so you have access to fresh, filtered, chilled water all day long. During the summer months, add water to a mister to spray yourself with for a revitalizing treat.
5. Sleep enough to rejuvenate and reduce stress
Good sleep is the foundation of good health. So, even if it is impossible to rule out stress while working from home, you can alleviate the stress of work by getting enough quality sleep.
To avoid dealing with the fatigue and other health conditions that result from “burning the midnight oil” working hard at home, ensure you rest well. Schedule your nap time and make sure it is respected. This is especially important for remote workers who are known to work longer hours, stay connected longer, and suffer from less restful sleep.
Studies show that even though remote workers have more time and flexibility in their daily schedules, their sleep quality is worse than that of traditional office workers. It’s, therefore, imperative that you get adequate shut eye and maintain good health while working remotely.