November 14, 2012 | 4 minutes

How a Virtual Office Improves Your Health

virtual office healthWe’ve spent a lot of time talking about how great a virtual office is for your business, but we’ve hardly ever discussed what a virtual office can do for you, personally. This is going beyond the “better work/life balance” argument, and really looking at how a virtual office can make a difference in your lifestyle or your personal mindset. This week, it’s your health, and here’s how a virtual office can improve your health:

1. You’re Not Sitting So Much – Whoa, wait, what? How does this happen, especially if you’re at a computer all day? Well, a study of more than 200,000 people found that adults who sat 11 or more hours per day had a 40% increased risk of dying in the next three years compared with those who sat for fewer than four hours a day. This was after taking into account their physical activity, weight and health status. A virtual office can reduce the amount of time you spend sitting by cutting your commute time (a lot of sitting in traffic there), by providing more opportunities to stand and to walk (on breaks, after lunch, before you start work etc.), and by opening up time for you to work out or to get exercise.

2. You Can Eat Healthier – No more having to do fast food or to microwave a processed lunch because you have a 30-minute lunch break and your boss wants you to work through it. No more eating out three times a week because that’s what your colleagues are doing. No more having to skip a meal because you have to work, ruining your metabolism and urging you to have a very big dinner or to snack throughout the day. With a virtual office, you can take the time to prepare your meals instead of buying them, so they’ll be a lot easier. You can actually take the time to have your meals without interruption, and to have all three meals per day.

3. You Can Get More Sleep (and Sleep When You Need It) – Hey, not everyone is an early bird, equipped and energized to start the day at 4, 6, or even 8 a.m. However, at most traditional offices, you are tardy at 8:05 a.m. If going to bed at midnight and waking up at 8 a.m. (which is eight hours of sleep) is better for your schedule, you can keep that schedule with a virtual office. If you’re a night owl and you prefer to work from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m., because that’s when the juices flow, then you can do that with a virtual office. Getting enough sleep is not only great for productivity, but is also crucial in keeping your weight down. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 41 million American workers aren’t getting enough sleep – that’s 30% of the workforce in this country. People who get less than five hours of shuteye a night have higher levels of ghrelin, which increases appetite, and decreases leptin, the protein hormone that tells you when you’re full.

4. You Can Take More Breaks – No, we’re not suggesting an hour break every two hours, or anything like that. However, spending an hour, two hours, three hours plus in front of the screen can take a toll on your health in other ways. Things like eye strain, back pain, and wrist pain can all happen when you are under pressure to make a deadline or to always be working. However, a virtual office gives you the opportunity to step away from the desk for a few minutes to give your eyes a break and your back some relief. Those long days and those long stretches of work may seem like what it takes to get something and to be productive, but they can have adverse effects on your health.

Essentially, a virtual office can benefit your health by making you more aware of what works for you and what you need to do to be at your best. On top of that, a virtual office has the flexibility for you to adjust and to incorporate healthy practices into your work and your lifestyle.

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