Working from home might seem like a great option now, but how is it affecting your long-term health and success?
This increase in sedentary behaviour resulting from working from home has caused an increase in acute and chronic health conditions such as chronic lower back, neck and wrist pain.

 

 

Longevity Exercise Physiology Drummoyne, EdgecliffMarrickvilleCastle HillRandwickPymbleBalmain, Kingsgrove, Neutral Bay, Coburg – Melbourne, and Barrie, Ontario – Canada   are offering 50% off initial consultations if you book your session time within work office hours of 9am – 5pm.

One of the positives to come from the Covid pandemic has been our ability to adapt and work from home. Working from home seemingly has many benefits for both employer and employee including increased work hours, no commute time, increased productivity, increased flexibility and a reduction in childcare requirements/costs etc.

Today, we discuss how working from home may be negatively affecting your health & wellbeing more than you think.

Initially, the concept of working from home was exciting and a “no-brainer”, there were far more pros than cons and everyone was happy with this new found flexibility and working freedom. However, as time goes on we as a society are starting to see things differently. Many employers have even started requesting that their employees return to working in the office. Suddenly some more of the negative effects of working from home have been highlighted including lack of employee motivation, decreased productivity, poor physical and mental health of employees and decreased job satisfaction.

“It’s becoming more and more evident that the working from home lifestyle is not necessarily a healthy one.”

As an Exercise Physiology company, we have now also started to see an increase in “working from home” related Work Cover Claims, for example wrist pain, neck pain and lower back pain due to poor ergonomic set-up and increased sedentary behaviour.

Another common story we hear is,

“I really got into walking during lockdown and really made the most of my flexible work schedule – I was exercising every day, but now I don’t do anything anymore, I don’t have the motivation and I am just working at home all day”.

More and more people have put on weight and are starting to see both the acute and chronic health effects of this increase in sedentary behaviour.

It’s becoming more and more evident that the working from home lifestyle is not necessarily a healthy one. There are so many aspects to good health, including but not limited to our physical health, emotional/mental health, social health and spiritual health. Working from home really should allow us to achieve all these aspects of health – BUT there are three very key aspects of human behaviour that we must consider:

  1. We need social interaction
  2. We need structure and routine
  3. We haven’t evolved to sit

Social Interaction

Human connection and social interaction are key elements of good health. We rely on each other for a sense of belonging and purpose in the world.  Working from home can be very isolating and create a feeling of loneliness. When people start to feel disconnected this can lead to other negative feelings such as loss of motivation, anxiety, depression which all significantly impact our health.

Good social health is often the driving force or first step towards good holistic health. We hang out together, we exercise together, we cook for each other and help motivate one another. We may take our casual interactions with colleagues for granted sometimes but these conversations can really shape our health choices. For example, hearing about someone’s active weekend, today’s lunch choice or seeing someone head off to the gym after work are all highly influential on our own health decisions. On top of this, we want to belong and be part of something bigger. These conversations give us a sense of purpose and help us move through our day, week and year.

 

“A genuine sense of human connection is one of the biggest factors influencing a worker’s productivity, job satisfaction, and perceptions of the workplace.”

https://www.hcamag.com/nz/specialisation/employee-engagement/how-human-connection-helps-organizations-succeed/433166

Structure and Routine

Majority of people thrive when they have a routine. Routine tell us what time we should get up, when to eat, when to exercise and guide us on our working hours. When we go into the office to work, we must stick to a leaving time, lunch break, meeting schedule, etc. Therefore, our health choices are heavily influenced by the nature of this schedule, at least from Monday to Friday. For example, what and when we eat, exercise before/after work, who we interact with, incidental activity, choice of transport and even our sense of purpose or belonging.

 

“… as a result, we have lost opportunities to be active, engage with other people and start our day with a healthy food choice.”

 

This means when we work from home and don’t have these time guides, things tend to merge e.g. sleep, breakfast, walk, travel, work becomes just sleep and work and as a result, we have lost opportunities to be active, engage with other people and start our day with healthy food choices.

Sitting for Extended Time

The human body needs to move. When we go into the office, we naturally move around more. Working from home cuts out a lot of our incidental activity and puts us at increased risk of more sedentary behaviour. This is one of the major risk factors for Cardiovascular disease and its co-morbidities such as obesity, high blood pressure and high blood sugar.

“Working from home cuts out a lot of our incidental activity and puts us at increased risk of more sedentary behaviour. This is one of the major risk factors for cardiovascular disease…”

The Australian Physical activity guidelines set out recommendations for good health. The three main recommendations include:

  • Minimum of 5 hours of moderate intensity cardiovascular activity per week
  • 2 x muscular strengthening (resistance training) activities per week
  • Break up sedentary behaviour (limit time sitting/laying down)

 

When we go into the office there are a lot of opportunities to keep active such as:

  • Walking as part of our commute
  • Using the stairs
  • Getting up and down out of chair
  • Attending meetings
  • Use the Gym at lunch
  • Active lunch break e.g. walk around the block

In summary, working from home has its benefits, but it won’t support a holistic lifestyle or lead to job satisfaction in the long-term.

 

In order to be healthy we must consider all aspects of health and hence the lifestyle choices and routines that will help us achieve them. For most people, structured exercise and mealtimes work best by default.

Whether you work from home or travel into the office, getting help with building your exercise routine should be a priority.

 

Let us help you get the most out of your working week and get you back on track with your health.

Longevity Exercise Physiology Drummoyne, EdgecliffMarrickvilleCastle HillRandwickPymbleBalmain, Kingsgrove, Neutral Bay, Coburg – Melbourne, and Barrie, Ontario – Canada   are offering 50% off initial consultations if you book your session time within work office hours of 9am – 5pm.

Call Longevity Exercise Physiology on 1300 964 002 to book in today!

 

Written by Ashleigh Mead

 

References:

https://www.health.gov.au/topics/physical-activity-and-exercise/physical-activity-and-exercise-guidelines-for-all-australians/for-adults-18-to-64-years