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How working from home could be impacting your health

The idea of working from home is now an everyday part of life for many in the UK. However, the widespread adoption of remote working is still a fairly new phenomenon, the health impacts of which are still being discovered.

Health and wellness experts Made4 Vitamins take a look at the pros and cons of each choice on your wellbeing and what you should know about taking care of yourself in each situation…


Most of us have probably noticed a difference in our eating habits when working from home. Having easy access to your own kitchen can allow you to cook healthier lunchtime meals instead of grabbing the same old meal deal, but it also means your fridge is always close at hand if you get peckish during the day. One study showed that people working from home generally increased their intake of fruits and vegetables and reduced their meat and alcohol consumption, but also increased their rate of snacking and intake of dairy products. A 2022 survey of UK adults likewise showed that 31% of those working from home more frequently are eating more as a result of the shift.

Another important factor to consider is time freed up for cooking when removing the need for a commute to work. With work hours and time constraints the largest barriers to healthy eating among young adults, the work-from-home trend could potentially be helping to overcome this obstacle by eliminating the 59 minutes that the average UK person spends commuting each day, providing more flexibility and time to focus on an improved diet. This is reflected in the finding that overall diet quality has improved during the pandemic with the uptake of the work-from-home model, despite the increased risk of snacking.

Our top tips:

  • If you’re working from home, the extra time you have on your hands can create more time for making healthier food – but it also leaves you at increased risk of snacking and overconsumption. Try removing the temptation to graze throughout the day by cutting down on your snack purchases on your next grocery haul, or opting for fruit as a healthier, lower calorie alternative to crisps or chocolate.
  • If you’re working in the office, try meal prep on the weekends to supply you with healthy meals throughout the week when you don’t have time to cook, removing the easy option of going for a ready meal or takeaway.


Unfortunately, the removal of activities such as walking between different meeting locations or commuting to work often means a decrease in physical movements for the work-from-home crowd as opposed to their office counterparts. The escalation of sedentary behaviour when working from home can increase the risk of chronic lower back pain, whilst one study showed that sitting for five hours or more a day is as hazardous as smoking 1.25 packs of cigarettes. Conversely, even moderate exercise such as walking to work can lower blood pressure, improve sleep and support your joints.

However, the news isn’t all bad on the work-from-home front. The pandemic brought about the new “workout from home” trend for those confined to their living rooms, led by the breakout popularity of Joe Wicks during the early stages of the pandemic. 52% of UK consumers have done home workouts since March 2020, spending an average of £162 per person on home workout equipment. In fact, those working from home reported exercising 30 minutes more during the work week than when in the office, helping offset the negative effects of the more sedentary at-home working day.

Our top tips:

  • If you’re working from home, you’re more likely to dedicate time to exercise – but you’re also more likely to remain sedentary throughout the day. Try setting an alarm on your phone at half-hour intervals or using free apps like Move or Stand Up as a reminder to get up, move about and stretch periodically.
  • If you’re working in the office, you’re less likely to spend long periods of time inactive, but it’s also important to make time for dedicated exercise. If your situation allows, try running, walking or cycling to work a couple of times per week or visiting a local gym before or after work.

Time Spent Outdoors

Did you know that 40% of Brits spend just 15 minutes outside on average per day excluding their commute to work?

As almost half of UK workers say they never go outside for a lunch break, a commute to work may be their only opportunity to get some fresh air and a change of scene during a busy working day, something that working from home could potentially damage. The increase in working from home also means that a 2021 poll found that a fifth of UK adults failed to leave their house for five days or more in succession, not including those required to self-isolate or quarantine, increasing their chances of becoming one of the 1 in 5 people in the UK with low levels of vitamin D.

Our top tips:

  • If you’re working from home, why not take a lunchtime walk or spend some time working in the garden? If you’re struggling to spend time outdoors during your work-from-home routine, it might be an idea to take a vitamin D supplement during the week, especially during the winter months as recommended by the NHS.
  • If you’re working in the office, you can maximise your time spent outdoors by taking public transport or taking your lunch outdoors when the weather is nice instead of eating at your desk.


The importance of good working posture can’t be overstated. Experts believe that not paying proper attention to your posture could result in neck pain, back pain, headaches, breathing problems, incontinence and heartburn. An analysis of working from home conditions during the pandemic found that the absence of ergonomic office furniture at home was likely impeding proper posture for many, possibly promoting the onset of musculoskeletal disorders. For many, a work-from-home setup may be limited to lounging with a laptop on the sofa or sitting on a stool at the kitchen countertop – but such habits could be potentially dangerous, with poor posture at work linked to everything from digestive issues to diminished lung function.

Our top tips:

  • If you’re working from home, ensuring you have the appropriate furniture and workstation setup is more than worth the investment. This includes keeping your computer at eye level, raising it with a stand if necessary, and having a proper office chair which provides lumbar support to minimise pressure on your lower back.
  • If you’re working in the office, you’re more likely to have access to a proper work setup – but you should still pay attention to your posture, keeping your feet flat on the floor, avoiding crossing your knees or ankles, keeping your back upright and positioning your knees at the same height or slightly lower than the hips.

Time Spent Working Overtime

Whilst many prefer the comfort and increased flexibility of working from home, 52% of UK employees say that the boundaries between their work and home life are becoming increasingly blurred. An ONS survey found that people who completed any work from home did an average of 6.0 hours of unpaid overtime per week compared with 3.6 hours of overtime from those who never worked from home. It therefore seems many are finding it tougher to put down the keyboard and mouse at home when there’s no defined boundary between when work ends and home life begins.

Our top tips:

  • If you’re working from home, set yourself concrete boundaries around working hours. Remove all distractions from your working area to focus on your job during the day, and then once it’s time to clock out, shut your computer down, turn off work email notifications and don’t return to them for the rest of the evening. Remember – taking time for yourself is crucial, and no one benefits from you becoming burnt out!
  • Even if you’re working in the office, it’s important to set boundaries around your working life and embrace downtime. Whether it’s delegating tasks or just saying “no” to extra projects, make sure you’re honestly evaluating your workload and not taking on extra tasks which you can’t realistically handle within your scheduled working hours.

Dr Bhasha Mukherjee, Medical Lead at Made4 Vitamins, added: “The effects of the work-from-home trend over the past 2 and a half years are still being discovered. Most people who have switched to remote working will have undergone changes in posture, diet or exercise, for better or worse. Your answer to these changes could be scheduling a lunchtime walk each day, creating an at-home workstation to improve your posture or setting yourself regular reminders to get up and move about from your desk; the key is to be aware of the shifts in your environment and habits and find bespoke solutions which meet your health needs.”