American workers are still in a perpetual state of transition as companies—especially those with thousands of workers—try to figure out the right mix of letting employees work from home or work remote, or forcing them back into company offices.
Our ideas about why each is better (or not better) keep shifting, and now, according to The New York Times, we may have to rethink the assumption that being in the office is worse for our mental and physical health.
A guest essay from sports medicine physician Dr. Jordan Metzi claims it's actually more of a mixed bag. While some people love the flexibility of WFH—which might give you more time to exercise, bond with family and avoid the drudgery of commuting—others are actually less active and lonelier than when they were going to the office.
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Metzi suggests that the data over the last couple of years is giving us a better picture of what's actually happening in relation to whether workers are staying active and whether their mental health is suffering without face-to-face office work. For instance, if we're measuring daily steps as movement, we might think office work is just a lot of sitting. But, as Metzi points out, there's "Steps from walking to lunch, taking the stairs at work and walking to the subway or through the parking lot."
Remote work might also lead some workers to feel anxiety and depression and to feel more isolated in general. The important thing to note is it's not everybody having these problems; some people are thriving with flexible schedules.
Metzi offers this advice: "The best way forward might be a hybrid of in-person and remote work to ensure socialization and daily movement. If you’re working fully remote, set up specific meetings and times to exercise that will keep you accountable and plugged in."
We'll add from our own experience: Keep your Netflix watching under two hours a day and limit your walking trips to the fridge to specific snack times and meals; don't make it an all-day habit.
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