The terms 'home office and 'remote working' have been circulating widely in the last few months. Some love working from home, others despise it.
Regardless of what you think of it though, working from home may have some significant health impacts on your body and your mental state. The job discovery platform, Directly Apply, took it upon themselves to create a model of the future full-time remote worker if they were to continue working from home for 25 years.
It's not a pretty sight.
Susan, the remote worker
Meet Susan, Apply Directly's remote worker model. She may be a little scary with her bloodshot eyes, bad posture, thinning hair, overly pale skin, and overweight body, but she's what awaits us all if we don't take proper care of ourselves.
Why does she look so somber, you might ask?
Well, her eyes are strained from long screen hours, her skin is pasty and pale from lack of sunshine, her hair is thinner as she has a lack of vitamin D from sun exposure, her posture is horrendous from hours of sitting curbed at her desk due to a badly set up work station, and she's overweight as she's not moving very much.
The list goes on: her stress levels are high from lack of human interaction, she has "tech neck" from straining her neck looking down at a screen or phone, her fingers are in pain from typing too much, etc...
What's different from working hours on end in a regular office though? For starters, there's usually some type of commute which requires your body to move a bit more and be exposed to the outdoor elements, you interact with colleagues (however good or bad that may be) which typically calms stress levels, more breaks are taken in an office compared with home working, and you can switch off properly when you get home after a long day in the office — instead of the current bed to desk to sofa scenario, many people are undergoing.
Long story short, it's not a pretty picture.
Directly Apply spoke with counselors and psychologists to come up with Susan, but also to offer advice on how to minimize such changes happening so that you can continue to work from home in a healthier way.
They recommend the following tips:
- Routine: Think about how you want to manage your time and stick to it
- Nurture social connections: Consciously build opportunities to connect with colleagues and friends, even if virtually
- Exercise: Make sure to get some fresh air and movement every day to avoid 'tech neck' and becoming overweight
- Work-life balance: Try to delineate your home work space from your 'living' space, and set reminders on your phones to take proper breaks
- Utilize your free time wisely: You don't waste time commuting anymore, so utilize that time to meet up with friends and family, take walks, read books, do some fitness routine
- More collaboration: Set up virtual team meetings that encourage collaboration
This isn't the first time a company creates a visual representation of what humans may end up looking like if we continue working as we currently do. Emma was as worrying as Susan. And then there was Graham, who was a model of what the perfect human to survive our roads would look like, he's another one to make you run for the hills.