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Will Working From Home Help My Health?

Fri, 11/09/2012 - 4:26pm | by Guest Contributor

It's no secret that Americans work a lot. We experience longer daily hours and total work weeks than most of the rest of the world, and many slog along with less benefits, decreased retirement compensation, and limited prospects for advancement. And with the unemployment rate and the job market more challenging than ever, many people are choosing to start their own businesses. But the entrepreneurial life also involves long, difficult hours. All of these concerns can create health problems. The stress involved with long commutes, the impact of quick, unhealthy meals and no time left for exercise. The depression that can come when there's no room in the schedule for a satisfying social life. With all these elements working against your health and wellness, there's an alternative that can often alleviate the worst of the problems: working from home. Many employers would allow a flexible schedule that incorporates a couple days a week of working from home. And modern technology makes telecommuting an easy and viable option. But is the extra coordination worth it? Are there clear health benefits possible in working from home?

Lowering stress. Stress hits you the second you get behind the wheel and face commuter traffic. Working from home takes this out of the equation. You'll also have more control over the hours you work, and the schedule you set. You can take the time saved on commuting and have a relaxing breakfast. You can see your family, or take a longer walk with the dog. The fact that you don't have to rush out the door to get to the office on time will dramatically lower your stress level, improving all areas of your health. Beyond the saved commuting time (and money), putting yourself back in control of your schedule will increase your satisfaction level, and probably increase your efficiency. No one does very well with 'forced' labor. Working in your own environment, at your own pace, will leave you with a sense of autonomy that leads to more happiness and satisfaction at the end of the day. And that will certainly improve your health bottom line.

Lifestyle control. Setting your own hours and working from home will guarantee you can find the time to design a lifestyle that works for you. Your kitchen is a step away, so you don't have to rush out and battle the lunchtime crowd to find a healthy meal. And dropping the evening commute means you'll be able to put more time into cooking a great dinner for your family. Working on a computer all day can damage your eyes and increase chances of wrist and hand problems. If you need some time away from the computer, there's no concern of your boss spotting you across the room, thinking you're slacking off. You're much more likely to take that short break every twenty minutes if you're not concerned someone will be judging you for it.

More balance. Without changing the circumstances, it's impossible to create a more balanced life. Working from home, you'll be able to find the time to exercise that you never could before. You'll have the ability to move things around and meet a friend for lunch who is only in town for the afternoon. Your children need something? You're there to handle it. All of these changes will lead to a happier, healthier family.

If you're concerned working from home won't fly with your company, perhaps it's time to look at an industry change. After all, you only have one life, and your health is the most important thing in the end. The heathcare industry, for one, offers many opportunities in sales and marketing work you can do from home. Picture those healthcare sales leads hitting your inbox in the morning, and closing all your business right after lunch. Instead of having to sit at your desk trying to look busy for the rest of the day, you can head off for a bike ride. Which situation do you think is better for your health and sense of well-being?

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