Are there health benefits to working from home?

By Graeme Jordan (CV Writer / Interview Coach / professional Marketer)

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Many of us are choosing to work from home, having the option to work around family commitments and reducing our daily spend on travel, food and parking is becoming increasingly popular. I have done this, and now it’s an occasional thing, especially since my son was born. The extent of the home working might make a big difference to your eating habits, stress levels and bank balance. providing you can get the balance right and still remain productive, there are definitely some major advantages to working from home. 

Changes I’ve noticed when working from home:

Your diet is improved. Making your own food and drinks and knowing what’s in it, has not only increased energy levels, but made me a more conscious foodie. When you’re in the office and you go to grab something quick, the stodgy sandwich is a common thing. When I’m at home, I suddenly find myself heading for the vegetables in the fridge and throwing them in a pan with some mackerel and some couscous. Or enthisiastically making giant healthy meals of an evening, in the knowledge that tomorrow’s lunch will be sorted!

Removal of niggling habits. No 9am cake, ok this did make me a little sad. No slowly munching through more biscuits than you care to admit because they are just there. Howwever, my ever expanding midriff did appreciate a ban on biscuits. 

No snivelling colleagues to make you ill. Yes, depending on who you live with, you are probably far less likely to have somebody spluttering in your face or getting their dirty hands all over your door handles, switches and surfaces. Less downtime for you is the result.

Introduction of new habits. Back home from a meeting at 11.23 … perfect – a quick run before lunch! I genuinely do this and not only does it improve my fitness, but my mood too. I feel energised, positive, happy and motivated, the result - better productivity. When I’m in the office 5 days a week, I know it’s possible to go to the gym, but in all honesty, I just don’t.

Exercise. At home you can find time for exercise much more easily without it interrupting your day. It might be first thing in the morning when you would usually be on the morning commute. I find that an early morning run or high-intensity session is extremely useful because I feel much more ready for the day, I'm not half asleep reaching for copious amounts of caffeine and sugar. Or you might choose certain times in the day when you usually tire, like at 2pm when you are eating your bodyweight in biscuits. Exercise can clear your head of frustration and confusion too, helping with your transition from one project to another.

You actually get to know your neighbours. I take parcels in for them because I’m in during the day which leads to a conversation later in the day and must say, getting to know my neighbours has liften my community spirit. I now feel like I'm part of the place I live in, where before I often felt like a vistor. Compare this to always being in the office and having the time to speak to people within your local environment was unheard of.

Work life balance. Nothing beats saying hello to my baby boy when he wakes for a feed. Being present for key events is priceless.

When it may not be right

  • When working from home is an extension of the 9 to 5. Not being able to switch off is unsustainable, this is too easily done if not managed properly. 
  • When it’s isolating. Don’t get left on your own for days on end. Nothing good is likely to come of this. We are all to some extent social animals. Good ways to improve your balance include meeting colleagues periodically, meeting customers and any other business contacts. For me, I get a great deal of value from attending networking events – particularly first thing in the morning. The sense of purpose and the participation in the more standard working hours just occasionally is really helpful.
  • When it’s not really your choice. If it’s forced upon you by redundancy or by a perceived lack of other options. If that’s the case then talking through your options with a trusted family member, friend or career advisor could be highly recommended.

Working from home for me increased my working hours, this is something that I found challenging to manage. There was always just one more job to do. But, in terms of mty diet and a being at home with family, they were certainly bonuses I would always welcome. 

I hope you find the right balance in your life, no matter how you choose to live it. For further information, or to chat about how to balance work/life commitments, feel free to contact me here. Have a geat day!

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