By Brandy Abalos

More people are working from home than ever before. In fact, many traditional office jobs have been adapted to remote positions over the past few years. Working from home has many benefits; however, there are some health risks that should be recognized. It is possible to prevent many of these negative aspects of working from home. 

Non Ergonomic Workspaces

Many offices are specifically designed with ergonomics in mind. Companies want to prevent common injuries like carpal tunnel, back pain and neck pain. However, the makeshift workspaces that many people fashion together in their own homes do not consider ergonomics. 

Ergonomic injuries can be prevented by creating a workspace that is comfortable. You should be able to sit upright in your chair with your feet flat on the floor. Your computer screen should be an arm’s length away to avoid neck strain. It’s also essential for you to take many short breaks to move around and stretch, as often as hourly if possible. 

Increased Stress at Home

When working in an office, you can retreat to the comfort of your home after a long day. However, many people who work from home find it difficult to leave work behind after they turn off the computer. Work hours mixed with personal time, you may find yourself working longer days than you did previously, decreasing your time to decompress from work stress. 

Additionally, it can be difficult to focus only on work while being in your home constantly. That pile of laundry keeps calling your name, and the dirty dishes are begging to be finished. If you do work from home, it’s important to keep work and home life separate. Having a separate workspace where you cannot see other areas of your house can be helpful. 

Depression and Other Mental Health Concerns

Office work promotes social interaction with coworkers. However, many people who work from home go for hours with very little outside communication. They stare at a computer screen for hours each day, focusing only on work and little else. 

The lack of social interaction can result in depression,  anxiety and other mental health conditions. To avoid these problems, you should try to arrange video meetings with coworkers as often as possible. This will help you reconnect with other people, and encourage you to get up and put on work-appropriate clothing regularly. 

Physical Inactivity

When you work from home, you are more likely to remain in a small area for a longer period of time. You will no longer be walking across parking lots and upstairs to get to your office. You only have to move a few feet from your bedroom to a computer desk. 

Physical activity contributes to your quality of life. You should try to engage in at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. That may include low-impact exercise or even stretching. The goal is to get moving in any way possible. 

Spending time outdoors is proven to improve health overall. Outdoor activities promote physical activity and reduce the negative mental health impacts of working from home. Additionally, indoor air quality can be lower than the fresh air outside.

You should make an effort to go outside every day. You can improve your indoor air quality by changing the filters in your HVAC system, vacuuming regularly, dusting throughout your home, opening windows when possible and washing your linens frequently. 

Eating in an Unhealthy Manner

People who work from home have their entire pantries available to them all day long. Instead of eating a reasonably planned lunch that you bring to work each day, you are more likely to grab something unhealthy to satisfy your hunger. Remote workers are also more likely to snack frequently and grab convenience foods, which are traditionally unhealthy. 

If you have trouble finding healthy options at home, focus on planning meals and snacks ahead of time. Stop and enjoy each meal while taking a break from work. Choose nutritious meals that will keep you full for longer. Meal prep can also help you have a quick, easy and healthy lunch in the middle of the day while working. 

Attention to Detail Can Make Working from Home a Positive Experience

Working from home can pose many health risks; however, by planning ahead and focusing on the details of your workday, you can maintain your mental and physical health as a remote worker.