Are Remote Workers Healthier?

Today is New Year’s Eve, the last day of 2008. Tomorrow morning most people will wake up with a cracking headache and possibly a few regrets from the night before. Luckily most of us don’t have to go to work. In fact with New Year’s Day falling on a Thursday many people won’t return to work till next Monday, me included!

This has got me thinking about if there is any difference between remote workers and on site workers health wise?

Many companies with telecommuting or remote working employees report one or two days less absenteeism per remote employee per year. As Zdnet points out:

“Teleworking is proven to decrease sick days, days lost to child-care emergencies and time taken for doctor appointments. Simply reducing the average employee absentee rate by one day a year can mean adding one or two points to a company’s profit margin, according to studies released by CIGNA corporation.”

It’s true that I am more likely to carry on working now that I work from home. I don’t have to drag myself into the office, nobody can see how red my nose is and I won’t be spreading my germs about. I’m also less stressed so probably stay fitter longer. That said I do sometimes feel isolated and probably don’t take enough breaks which might not be great for my mental health. I’m also not sure my eating habits are that great (see Top 10 Remote Worker Lunches). Definitely some room for improvement…. Will being healthier be on your New Year’s Resolutions list?

About.com have provided a useful guide to staying healthy at work. Their top tips are:

  1. Wash Your Hands. Often.
  2. Keep your workspace clean.
  3. Eat balanced meals every day – including breakfast!
  4. Avoid coworkers who are sick.
  5. Drink AT LEAST 8 glasses of water a day.
  6. Take frequent breaks throughout the day.
  7. Use your vacation days.
  8. Quit smoking.

I’m going to have a go at number 7 and enjoy the last few days of the holiday!

Happy New Year!!

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