The truth is that the average office worker is actually leading a physically detrimental lifestyle. Desk-bound for 8+ hours a day, 5 days a week. Car-bound for that hour-long commute to the office, only to eventually spend another hour getting home. And while sedentary habits alone can have a devastating impact on fitness and wellbeing, traditional office work often presents a minefield of additional health hazards. There’s the intense fluorescent lighting knocking circadian rhythms out of whack. The inevitable vitamin D deficiency from spending the entire day indoors. Micromanagers and office gossip triggering unnecessary stress responses. And how many people can actually resist the donut tray in the break room? More and more research is showing that this lifestyle is demonstrably bad for your physical and mental wellbeing. Given these realities, it’s no wonder that a major movement towards healthier lifestyles is a consistently hot topic.
Ergonomic enhancements such as standing desks and treadmill workstations are a step in the right direction, but we can – and should – do better. The growing trend of remote work provides an opportunity for employees to develop healthier habits and adopt a work-life balance on their own terms. “Digital nomads” can hold conference calls while out for a walk. They have access to healthier food options and regular sun exposure. They can make mornings count by not rushing to get ready at the crack of dawn or sitting in traffic for hours. Precious time is freed up to get in a quick workout or take the kids to the park after school. The opportunities for healthy improvements are nearly endless. On top of all that, remote work gives employees the ability to choose how and when they communicate with other team members. This leads to more productive and conscientious conversations and overall more pleasant interactions between colleagues.
Companies who support and encourage a better work-life balance for their team members are making them healthier and happier. I’m excited to watch this remote work trend grow, and to expose how cultivating healthier lifestyles for employees actually produces better and more efficient work.