Working from Home Is Messing with Our Health

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Even if you've been lucky enough to avoid getting sick, COVID-19 has been hard on all of us, body and soul. Stress levels have skyrocketed as we self-quarantine and try to protect ourselves and each other. Working from home, if you're able to, has introduced some measurable downsides that are very real — and very common.

Researchers at the University of Southern California have just released a study that assesses what remote work on a mass scale has done for us as individuals. Nearly two-thirds of survey respondents reported one or more new physical health issues, while nearly 75 percent said they were living with new mental health issues. We're all eating more junk food, we're not moving around enough, and our pets and kids aren't helping keep us afloat. Furthermore, the study supported earlier research showing that in nearly every measurable way, the social effects of the pandemic are harder on women.

"The quality of your home workspace is important," said coauthor Burcin Becerik-Gerber. "Having a dedicated workspace signals to others that you are busy, and minimizes the chances of being distracted and interrupted." Unfortunately, the study also found that just 1 in 3 remote workers have a dedicated office space in their home, and nearly half were sharing a workspace with others.

Workers who couldn't set limits around or control their time on the clock also reported more adverse health effects. Physical and schedule boundaries are a great start for keeping your head up. If you're able to do so, that may be a good place to start seeking relief.