The Dangers Of Working At Home – Monitor Your Health

You wouldn’t think that working from home would be such a bad thing, right? I mean, you wake when you want, sleep when you want, work when you want. You can excercise whenever, take a stroll with the dogs, stay out of traffic. What’s wrong with that?

Of course, you have to learn to budget revenue, to deal with the ups and downs of contracts. But if you have a bit of business sense, you should be able to learn that lesson. The more serious issue, which is very easy to forget, is health. Bloggers who work from home seem to be increasingly reporting a variety of health problems, or are more prone to them given the change in lifestyle.

  1. Flu – though this isn’t due to working at home, bloggers have been reporting serious cases of illness. I was lightheaded for a few hours today, but it passed. Last year, around this time, I was sick for days – something that hadn’t happened to me for as long as I can remember.
  2. Obesity – I’ve definitely gained weight working at home full-time for nearly a year now. I know it’s bad, it’s just not always easy to do something about it without a concerted effort.
  3. Diabetes from obesity and inactivity. With diabetes becoming an epidemic, weight is something to watch very closely. I’ve tried to eat less per meal, but sometimes I end up snacking too often since it’s easy to do so at home.
  4. DVT – Deep vein thrombosis from inactivity or sitting in a cramped position for long hours, over extended periods. If you’re over 40, or have had surgery or recently had a baby or surgery, or are susceptible to any number of risk factors. It’s typically a traveller’s disease but does strike people with sedentary lives.
  5. Stroke or heart attack from DVT or other reasons.
  6. Headaches from lack of fresh air.
  7. Insomnia – especially if you work and sleep in the same room/ studio.
  8. Hoarseness of throat, due to not speaking all day. Unless you conduct a lot of phone calls from home.

These are only a few ailments that someone working at home could be prone to. That’s not to say that people working offline are not prone, but when you work at home, it’s easy to forget to exercise or even leave the house for fresh air on a regular basis. Now, the question is, how do we remind ourselves to actually take a break when we’re thinking, “I’ll do it in a minute.” Any suggestions? Scheduling your time like a regular job might be the key.

7 thoughts on “The Dangers Of Working At Home – Monitor Your Health

  1. You don’t have to let your health go to hell simply because you work from home. I follow these rules to keep myself healthy, despite working at home.
    1) Don’t neglect exercise. This doesn’t have to be difficult. Find a sport with fitness benefits that you love, like tennis (my personal favorite). Find, no make, time to participate in it at least 3 times each week. Make sure you exert yourself hard enough to increase your fitness level, yet not enough to cause injury.

    It also works great to take a 15 minute break every so often and do some exercise related activity, such as body weight exercises. Push ups, pull ups, and dips can be done with virtually no equipment, yet are highly effective in increasing your fitness level.

    2) Eat well. For many, the diet de rigueur when working from home is provided by Hostess and Frito Lay. That will surely lead to a belly fat bonanza. Instead of such garbage, try snacking on snow peas, apples, and almonds. Exchange soda pop style drinks for pure water and moderate quantities of juice.

    3) Get plenty of sleep. Your body only recovers when you’re getting plenty of high quality sleep. Somewhat hypocritically, I often fail to follow my own advice here, and habitually exist on 4 – 5 hours of sleep each night, with an occasional 10 – 12 hour stretch on weekends to re-charge.

  2. I was just going to comment with saying I WISH I could complain about working from home. I’m easily suffering from several of those things because of my work in an office. Frequent headaches or just overall feelings of malaise from not having any fresh air, staring at the computer for hours, feeling depressed (there’s one to add to the list), thankfully no obesity or diabetes yet, but I think the feeling of soul-lessness and boredom is about equally bad. Sitting in traffic = more opportunity for bad posture = other aches, pains and fatigue.

    I feel like if I worked from home, I’d have that window open on the nice days, take frequent breaks to run errands or do whatever, come back feeling refreshed and productive, eat healthier because I wouldn’t feel so pressed to eat during certain time frames or be trying to squeeze every last second of sleep in before I absolutely HAVE to be out the door.

    I have been trying to figure out a way to work from home and make writing my full-time thing for over a year now, but feel as though I’m just spinning my tires. The corporate beast has a firm grip around my throat, heart and wallet.

  3. @AttHack: That’s what I told myself, that I would exercise. Glad to hear that you are managing it.

    @Trisha: Good point. I sit very poorly and it cramps my leg constantly. But I’m not in a position to spend $300 on an ergonomic chair. (Though I may have to eventually.)

  4. Another health problem to add is ergonomic problems. I’ve been going to physical therapy off and on for 6 months down due to problems related to sitting (incorrectly presumably) at my computer too long. Of course that could happen away from home too, but I think it is easier when you are at home by yourself and without a company to buy you more ergonomic furniture. I wouldn’t trade it for working at home though!

  5. I wake up at 6:30am, eat some crappy microwavable breakfast, load up my coffee mug, then go sit in traffic for an hour and a half. At work, I sit in front of a computer for 8 to 9 hours, sit in more traffic on my way home, then by 7pm, I’m so exhausted I just want to sit in front of the TV and do nothing until I go to bed at 11pm.

    If I were able to work from home, I’d spend more time watching what I eat, and put aside some time for excercise. 2 to 3 hours in traffic totally ZAPS any desire to excercise.

  6. Great tips, Ahmed. You’re obviously trying to be proactive about your health. Thing about type-two diabetes has nothing to do with your age.

  7. Short version:

    • Stay active
    • Schedule / manage your time
    • Rest

    Long Version:

    1. Flu – I’m a bit sick right now, and I can attribute that to a combination of a lack of sleep and a weakened immune system (due to spending a majority of my time indoors). Solution – rest, and get out of the house more often.

    2. Obesity – take short breaks (10 minutes) for exercise every hour (yes, every hour).

    3. Diabetes – I’m not that old yet 😛

    4. DVT – Move around, do plently of stretching.

    5. Staying active and resting properly,

    6. Fresh air is a must, make sure that your workspace is well-ventilated. If not, get out of the house every 2 hours or so (alternatively, you could go in your balcony, roof or porch to do that 10 mins exercise every hour).

    7. Reduce stress by managing time properly, and tire your body out by regular activity. Most cases of insomnia can be easily solved this way.

    8. Sing Seriously, if you’re alone all day, singing or practicing your public speaking skills is a perfect antidote.

    You could always go meet real people, but I’m guessing that’s tough for some of us

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