Remote working: the hidden health benefits

Working from home has become the new norm for many. But, in addition to helping to fight the spread of the virus, what other positives does working from home have?

To find out, ZenBusiness surveyed 1,035 remote workers to uncover some of the aspects of being remote that don’t often get spoken about.

And 99 per cent of respondents reported that it has had at least one positive impact on their lives.

One of the biggest was mental health. A total of 60 per cent said they’d seen an improvement compared with those who work that way full time.

Respondents also indicated their physical health had improved as a result of working remotely, with 40 per cent saying their diet had improved and 44 per cent saying they engaged in more physical exercise when working away from the office.

The improvement in someone’s life is also closely linked with how large the company is that they work for. Excluding freelancers, (who may have chosen to be a remote freelancer for various reasons) the study found people in large companies experience the most positive outcomes followed by those working for medium-sized businesses and, finally, those working for small businesses.

Additionally, between age groups, the survey found some big differences between generations. While 63 per cent of those under 25 say they benefit from being able to spend more time with friends and family, just 44 per cent (the second-lowest of all the age groups) say they feel more productive as a result of working remotely.

Interestingly, while millennials are often spoken about in relation to mental health, 25-34-year-olds are the least likely to say they have seen a mental health benefit from working remotely, with just 56 per cent saying they experienced an improvement.

The survey also found that 39 per cent of remote workers have reported feeling lonely

Melissa Cadwallader, Head of HR at ZenBusiness said: “Working from home can be extremely rewarding for your mental health and offers freedoms that may not be accessible in the office, like cooking your favourite meals for lunch or taking breaks to spend time with your children.

“Our data highlights that the majority of people are finding WFH a positive experience for their mental health, but it also shows that 2 in 5 are not. We advise everyone to ensure they exercise, take regular breaks, eat and sleep well, drink plenty of water, and stick to a routine where possible.

“Workers should utilise this time to get familiar with their WFH policy documents and request support from their employers. If you are struggling with your work environment or are having technical difficulties for example, your employers are there to help, regardless of the size of your business. You are working from home during a global crisis, it’s not a regular working week, and it is important to recognise that it’s ok not to be ok and that there are people you can talk to.

“Even if your working from home methodology involves Netflix and pyjamas and candy bars, it’s a personal process that we all must explore and figure out.”