If there’s anything that employees have learned over the past two years, it’s that working from home unpacks the punch of infamous Sunday Scaries. While hiding from the wrath of the pandemic happening outside the front door, many people found that a work-from-home structure made them more productive in their work and home life.
For example, while waiting for a response from a coworker or supervisor, employees could toss a load of dirty clothes into the washing machine or let their dog outside for a quick potty break rather than mindlessly scrolling on their phone. It comes as no surprise, then, that many employees are resistant to the idea of returning to the office.
As these WFH advocates band together, employers initiating return-to-office plans will need to build a convincing argument. While the increase in productivity, traced back to remote work, has a positive impact on employer’s bottom lines, these remote structures can also result in various health benefits that occur independently from productivity.
Moving forward, business owners and employers who value the health and wellbeing of their employees are confidently making the switch to remote work models. To establish permanently remote structures, many business executives have turned to virtual offices, like those offered through iPostal1. With a virtual office in place, employers can request a corporate mailing address digitally, set up a personalized voicemail box, and bear the financial fruits of improved work-life balance.
With the benefits of WFH life below in mind, employers should build the future of their business with visions of a healthy and happy workforce in mind. Still on the fence? Here are six of the most substantial positive effects that working remotely can have on employee wellbeing.
1. Less stress
Leaving home to work in an office setting creates multiple stress points that can build up over the day. Rushing to make it to the bus stop on time, getting stuck in morning rush hour traffic, or a long commute generally starts the day with a dose of stomach-churning anxiety.
From there, a bustling office environment, interruptions from coworkers, and presenting to supervisors can tack on more workday stress. The gradual buildup of stress can have serious negative consequences on mental and physical health, specifically increased anxiety, depression, and systemic inflammation.
Prolonged inflammation caused by stress can contribute to the development and progression of severe chronic conditions like hypertension and heart disease. Fortunately, working from home wipes out the vast majority of these stressors, saving employees time, money and promoting wellbeing.
2. Nutritious meals
Most office spaces provide a microwave, a refrigerator, and a toaster if you’re lucky. Unfortunately, the lack of culinary equipment and kitchen space isn’t the most conducive to preparing healthy meals, making it a significant challenge for most employees. Unless you have the time and dedication to prepare meals at home and reheat them, you’re generally out of luck.
Consequently, office employees may turn to vending machine snacks full of empty calories, nearby fast-food chains, or skip meals altogether. To make matters even worse, many office employees already skip breakfast due to a long commute and the amount of time to prepare a meal.
On the other hand, remote workers have access to all of their ingredients and cooking equipment, allowing them to whip up a hot meal full of nutritious ingredients, like fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
3. More time for exercise
Regular physical activity has substantial positive effects on cardiovascular, metabolic, and mental health. The recommended amount of physical activity for American adults is 150 minutes at moderate to vigorous intensity each week. Still, the majority of adults fail even to come close to this guideline.
When asking adults what prevents consistent physical activity, the lack of time from commuting to and from work is one of the most common answers. The average time it takes to get to work, whether by car, bus, or train, can range from 20 minutes to an hour both ways.
By eliminating the need to commute to an office, employees might have upwards of two additional hours to fit exercise into their daily schedule. Whether you have employees that are already active runners, bikers, yogis, or those just starting to dip their toe in the water of exercise, remote work gives them the much-needed time to develop those healthy habits.
4. Better sleep
There’s nothing worse than the feeling of dread that comes with setting the alarm so early that roosters wouldn’t even be awake yet. Whether the morning wake-up call is due to an early shift or preparation for a long commute, it can start to dig into precious sleep time.
Sleep is the body’s time to recover from the day, support the immune system, and rebuild muscle. Without getting an average of eight hours of sleep, you become more susceptible to colds and flu, injuries and may experience the dreaded “brain fog.”
Remote workers can maximize their time sleeping while still having plenty of time to get dressed for the day, make coffee, and begin working right on time. Now, being ripped from a pleasant dream by the jarring sound of an early alarm is a thing of the past.
5. Increased happiness
All of the benefits listed above have substantial individual impacts on mood and mental health. By adopting better nutrition, exercise, and sleep habits while limiting daily stressors, employees can notice a tangible difference in their overall happiness and job satisfaction. Having a well-developed toolkit of healthy habits can also make employees productive, which has its own beneficial effect on wellbeing.
Empowering employees to feel proud of the work accomplished, reminding star players that their contribution matters, and granting opportunities to utilize their skills to their full potential are ways to ensure optimal employee satisfaction. Adults spend most of their time at work during weekdays, so creating a work environment that fosters happiness can work wonders for your entire organization’s wellbeing.
6. Before you go
Transitioning to a work-from-home environment due to the pandemic has shown that remote work can create a happier and healthier working environment. Business owners can shape the future of remote worker’s health by making it easier to develop and maintain healthy habits.
For example, creating nutritious meals, adopting a new active hobby like running in the morning, getting a restful night of sleep, eliminating many everyday stresses of an in-person work environment, and boosting happiness ensure a well-adjusted team of healthier employees.