Working From Home? Your Mind and Body Will Thank You
While it's difficult to replicate the personal, collaborative environment of a physical office, working from home has a wide range of unique benefits.
- By Gen Handley
- Apr 03, 2020
As COVID-19 spreads its way across the globe, the virus is forcing us to change our daily routines and structures, including how we work and earn a living. To stop the spread of the deadly disease, you, like many, many others around the world, might be working remotely and from home as part of widespread quarantine measures. But in every major change, there is a silver lining. While it's difficult to replicate the personal, collaborative environment of a physical office, working from home has a wide range of unique benefits, particularly for emotional and physical wellness as well as personal safety.
No geographic limits
With the abundance technology and online platforms available, you can easily communicate and collaborate with colleagues anywhere there is an internet connection. And with the prevalence and wide reach of wi-fi networks, this means that the location of your "office" is not limited to one room in your home, or limited to just your home. This freedom can be a real boost to your emotional health.
No structural limits
Like the location of your office, the structure of your home office is very flexible. Your home office is no longer set in stone with a large desk and a bulky chair—it can be whatever you require it to be according to your unique personal and professional circumstances, creating a healthier, more comfortable space. With this dramatic increase in working-from-home situations, the concept of the office has become much more fluid and dynamic.
By working at home, you eliminate the commute to work. This is significant because commuting can cause stress, eating up a lot of your precious day in traffic, and it can also be a major expense, costing a lot of money in gas or transit when commuting every day. Researchers have found that commuting can put "considerable stress on the human and body and on family relationships."
Work and home-life balance
One of the major emotional benefits of working from home is that there is much more potential for work and home-life balance. The ease of shifting gears between work and home life responsibilities is something to be grateful for and will result in a less stressful life. If you can stick to a productive and a relatively regimented schedule while working at home, you will find a very fulfilling balance between the two worlds.
Because you’re not commuting every day, you will have extra time to catch up on sleep or pound out that quick home workout, run or yoga session. Additionally, without the commute, you are avoiding toxins like exhaust fumes from busy roads, buses and trains, which can impact your respiratory health. Working at home also frees up more time for other healthy activities such as yoga and meditation.
Flexibility is another obvious benefit, but worth mentioning nonetheless. With the independence, you have much more flexibility—a major factor of increased emotional wellness and the work and home-life balance we talked about earlier. You are in more control of what work gets done and when. If an emergency with a family member occurs, you are more readily available to help. With this flexibility also comes a need for structure and best practices to follow so you can stay productive in this flexible environment.
When it comes to filing your taxes, if you work from home, you can write off a portion of your home and office expenses. This includes costs such as internet and mobile phone charges, utilities, and any home office supplies. When filing your taxes, speak to an accountant about what you can claim and you might be surprised by how much it is.
It may be arguable, but a video-call meeting can be more effective and comfortable than a physical discussion. Everyone has sat in an uncomfortable conference room where the meeting went too long and not much was accomplished. In the comfort of your personal workspace, online meetings tend to be more efficient and shorter, allowing attendees to share links and documents easily.
Along with all of the emotional and physical benefits of not having to commute, there are also considerable safety gains as well. First of all, you are significantly less likely to get into a car accident and if you bike to work, your risk goes down as you can choose to cycle when the roads are less busy and dangerous. Additionally, there are a number of simple and cost-effective steps that employers can take to protect their remote workers.
Believe it or not, those working at home are more productive than their office counterparts. In an Airtasker survey of more than 1,000 full-time employees across the US, it was found that on average, remote employees worked 1.4 more days every month, or 16.8 more days every year, than those who worked in an office. Being more productive will result in more job satisfaction—and your employers will be happier as well.
Gen Handley is a Marketing and Growth Coordinator for www.scatterling.co (Scatterling is a cloud-based worker safety management solution for monitoring the everyday safety of workers). Gen has more than 10 years of marketing and freelance writing experience.