Humans were not designed for sitting all day long. Not one part of our body likes it -- our backs, our guts, and especially not our heart. Yet that is just what many companies ask people to do for eight or nine hours straight.
If both sitting and standing at your desk too long is unhealthy, then there is only one good solution -- you need a job with workspace flexibility.
Maybe your company is progressive. Maybe it offers you an adjustable desk so you can burn off some extra calories and an ergonomic chair to sit in when you need a break from standing. But the best way to get the flexibility you really need is by working remotely.
I know this firsthand. I am the co-founder and CEO of Aha! -- a fully distributed company with all teammates operating out of their homes and shared workspaces all over the world. Every day we see the freedom that choosing where and how we work offers -- freedom that no office job could ever provide.
But you do not have to take my word as proof. Here are five ways remote work is better and healthier than a desk job:
Too many people get stuck working all day in an artificially-lit cubicle. If you are lucky enough to have a window nearby? It probably looks out onto another office building or a parking lot. Workplace freedom makes it much easier to stay close to nature -- and studies show this can have great benefits.
Go for a stroll on your break and soak in some sunshine to boost your mental well-being. Some colleagues at Aha! bring their laptop outside to soak up nice weather. Even just looking at nature can make you happier, so set up your workspace by a window with a view. Your body and brain will thank you.
Avoid the germs
Paid time off often covers both sick and vacation days. So if you do not want to give up a vacation day, your other choice is to come in sick. Guess what most people choose? As soon as they feel well enough to work, they bring their flu into the office and pass it all around.
This harms teammates' health and the company as well. Plus, who wants to hear somebody hacking and sniffling all day long? Remote workers are able to avoid passing their own germs and avoid others' as well.
Not only does your desk job quarantine you from nature, it also imposes a single, static environment on you. Having no control over the temperature, the airflow, the volume of the noise around you, or any other aspect of your surroundings wears on you.
If you are part of a distributed workforce, you can change your scenery to suit your productivity. If your home is too quiet, turn on music. When our teammates want the buzz of other people, they head to a cafe or a shared workspace. Remote workers can take advantage of all the variety.
Do not wait until break time to stretch your legs. Remote workers have options for staying active, such as walking around the block while you talk with a colleague. For motivation consider that, according to one study, replacing half an hour of sitting with activity every day reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease by 24 percent.
Remote work also allows you to travel -- as long as you honor your commitments. We have even had people at Aha! take trips and stay with co-workers. Of course, make sure you let everybody know you are traveling. As long as your new location does not disrupt or inconvenience your colleagues, there should be no difference in the way you work with them.
I think we can all agree that no job should be hazardous to your health. You deserve the workspace freedom you need to stay healthy and productive.
And, more pragmatically, as more people seek out flexible work arrangements, the companies that only offer cube farms will miss out on the best teammates.
What other ways do remote jobs make you healthier and happier?