Social distancing to slow the spread of coronavirus has kept millions of people away from the office.
Many are working from home instead. Figuring out how to video conference might be challenging, but telecommuting also has some real health benefits.
Crowded offices, buses, subway cars, and commuter trains could potentially expose you to coronavirus. The best way to stop it from spreading is to stay away from other people. Working from home helps you do just that.
Work can be stressful. So can the drive if you spend most of your commute stuck in traffic. At home, you may be better able to manage triggers, like annoying co-workers or a demanding boss. That could be why one study found that people who telecommute for 8 or more hours a month are less likely to be depressed than those who don't work from home.
Lower stress levels could also be a key to better health habits. The same study found that people who work from home are less likely to be overweight and are active. They’re also less likely to misuse alcohol or use tobacco. The short commute from the bedroom to the home office also leaves more free time for exercise.
Less stress also lowers your risk for:
We can all breathe easier when more people telecommute. The cars and buses that get us to work release pollutants into the air. Pollution is a serious health risk. It causes one-third of all deaths from stroke, lung cancer, and heart disease. One study found that working from home reduces air pollution by up to 4%.
Working from home isn't always a positive experience. The shift from office building to home office can cause problems, too. Living and working in the same place can blur the line between your work and personal life. Work may start to creep into the time you'd normally reserve for family and friends. That’s why it’s important to have clear start and stop times.
The Future of Teleworking
Working from home isn't likely to end once the coronavirus pandemic is under control. As of 2018, nearly 25% of employees in the United States worked at least a few hours from home on most days. In one survey, 30% of people who worked remotely at least a few times a month said they got more done at home in less time. Employers also benefit because telecommuters tend to be happier and less likely to quit their jobs as a result.