Could Working from Home be Harming Your Health?

Working from home is mostly a dream come true. You’re free to work on your own schedule—and wear sweatpants whenever you want. You don’t have to slog through a daily commute. You don’t have to sit in a cubicle under fluorescent lighting. You have complete autonomy over your day. Sounds glorious, right? You’re not alone.

Remote working is becoming more and more popular in our digital age. According to a Gallup poll, 43 percent of employed Americans spent at least some time working remotely last year—a surprising percentage indeed.

While, sure, a handful of these people may have been living that digital nomad lifestyle, working from their computers on enviable tropical beaches and racking up green-eyed followers on Instagram, the rest of us remote workers were probably holed up at home in our 10-year-old sweatpants. Not so glamorous, but still pretty wonderful.

Father with son working at home

Working from Home and Your Health

Working from home comes with a major wellness downside—a wimpy immune system.

When we leave our houses, we encounter billions and billions of foreign strains of bacteria—on doorknobs, benches, handrails, everywhere. And that’s not a bad thing. Exposing yourself to bacteria can help build up your immune system, meaning you actually get sick less often!

But for those of us who work from home, we don’t encounter foreign germs nearly as often. No commute. No officemates. No regular ventures through public spaces. And the unfortunate truth is that when you expose yourself to fewer germs, your body has less of a chance to build up fortifications against similar intruders. So even though you see fewer people, your odds of coming down with something nasty practically skyrocket if you decide to venture out into the world. And if it’s cold and flu season, that means you’re probably going to get hit—hard.

But that’s not all. Freelancers and remote workers who barely move an inch away from their home office can struggle with mental health issues, too.

Whether it’s depression, stress, anxiety, or a deficit of social interaction, working alone from home can be mentally unbalancing. It’s important to be especially aware of this possibility in the winter, when seasonal affective disorder can kick in.

If you do work from home, consider getting the support of a therapist—even if you don’t think you need one. We all need someone to talk to sometimes, especially if we’re alone for most of the day.

How to Make Working From Home Healthier

Is there anything our growing remote workforce can do to thwart these wellness downers? Yes. Make leaving your office a priority. Whether it’s going out for a daily social session at the local coffee shop or a simple walk through your local park, going outside is crucial for both your physical and mental wellness.

All humans need a little nature and social interaction pretty regularly—even self-proclaimed introverts. Consider getting out of your house nature’s all-in-one daily preventative supplement—so you can keep relishing in the glories of working from home.

Related on Care2

Images via Getty

45 comments

Jack Y
Jack Y1 months ago

thanks

SEND
Jack Y
Jack Y1 months ago

thanks

SEND
John J
John J1 months ago

thanks for sharing

SEND
John J
John J1 months ago

thanks for sharing

SEND
Paulo R
Paulo R2 months ago

ty

SEND
Past Member
Past Member 3 months ago

As a stay at home mom I recommend "Medical Coding" as a wonderful work from home option. Yes, you will need training. You can't just code medical records without having proper training. However, this is a real and promising career. I used to work for "Career Step" and they have an awesome Medical Coding course.

http://www.referral.careerstep.com/mc?ref=43233

Their training is done online and is self-paced. You could finish the program in 4 months but 6 months is probably more realistic. They do however give you up to a year to get it all done. Their program prepares you to become certified by the American Health Information Management Association and the American Academy of Professional Coders. They work with companies such as CIOX Health, Lexicode, OS2-HCS, TrustHCS, Inovalon, Mckesson that hire their grads to work from home right out of the program.

The average salary for this career is about $40,000. Their entire program including books, instructors and job assistance is around $3,000 and they offer sweet payment plans.

If you want more info, reference links or have questions let me know @ katherine.b.ashby@gmail.com

SEND
heather g
heather g3 months ago

When I did a 6-month project from home, I made sure I took a longish lunch break for a fitness class or a library visit, etc

SEND
Kathy K
Kathy K4 months ago

Interesting. Thanks.

SEND
Karen M
Karen Martinez4 months ago

We need to be around other people, but it does not mean that we have to be around others for work. I'm working from home now, and getting sick the same amount as I did when I taught in the public school system. Difference is that I am out around people when I am not working, and therefore exposed to germs. Yes, when one is exposed, one builds immunity. Thanks for the article.

SEND
hELEN hEARFIELD
hELEN hEARFIELD4 months ago

tyfs

SEND