Working from home gives you a whole lot of options. You can make work fit in with your life rather than the other way around. The flexibility can be a two-edged sword though. There are health risks with working from home.
Folks working outside of the home get to turn the light off and pack their bags and go home, often leaving work at work.
If your work site is only a few steps away, or even worse, on the kitchen counter, you may clock in insane work hours without realizing it because you are in semi-work mode all the time.
There are 5 health issues the telecommuter or work-at-home woman should be mindful of.
How Working from Home Could Hurt Your Health (And What You Can Do About It)
1. Weight Gain
All those steps to the water cooler at the office all count for something. You get to burn some calories. The structure of leaving work behind when you work outside of the home also helps you to stay better organized to fit in exercise time. The refrigerator and pantry are also not as close by as is the case if working from home.
Set your work hours and clock out as you would do if working outside the home. You need to have time in your day that is not work focused. Schedule time for lunch, walks or exercise in your work day. Take advantage of the flexibility you have.
2. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Chances are that the work you do from home entails copious amount of time on the keyboard. The constant hammering on the keyboard could lead to compression of the median nerve in the wrist, otherwise known as carpal tunnel syndrome.
Outfit yourself with gel padding for your wrist to rest on while you punch the keyboard. Take regular breaks from the keyboard in the course of your work day.
3. Back Pain
You do some work on the kitchen counter and then move your laptop to the couch for a bit and you get in some work in bed. The settings of the aforementioned locations were not set up for work on the computer. The positions you assume to make them work for you could lead to back pain.
Sure you want to work in bed and catch up on emails while watching Dancing with the Stars. Try to keep it to a minimum. Set up a dedicated work space with a chair that you can adjust to your back. Don’t skimp on this!
In spite of all the drama and distractions that go on in the office, you get a lot of face-to-face human interaction that helps to ward off depression. Working at home can be isolating.
Schedule meetings outside of your home once a week to maintain your social interactions. You may work out of a neighborhood coffee shop or the local public library every now and then. Extend you offline connections and join a Meet up group or attend some chamber of commerce mixers.
5. Poor Sleep
Not establishing boundaries around your work time could find you working into the wee hours on a daily basis. This could distort your regular rhythm particularly if you have to wake up early to get kids off to school.
Do your most important work during your peak times. Get help. You might have to hire a babysitter sometimes to be able to focus and get things done quicker or hire a maid to take the load off some of your domestic chores.
How is your work-from-home set up endangering your health? Sometimes we need permission to take care of ourselves. What solutions has Dr. Oyeyipo permitted you to pursue? Any solutions that have eased your way? Please share your experiences in the comments!
About the Author:
Dr. Bola Oyeyipo is a family physician and co-founder at Healthgist – a welcoming community of women who care about their health. Sign up at Healthgist.com to get the free report 5 Questions Every Woman Should Ask Her Mother.
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- How Working from Home Could Hurt Your Health (And What You Can Do About It) - January 19, 2014