New study shows remote working boosts resiliency

It won’t come as a surprise to any freelancers working from home, but recently published research by the Texas A&M University School of Public Health has revealed benefits to escaping the office. The new study shows remote working boosts resiliency for both employees and companies.

The data was collected from 264 employees of a large oil and gas company in Houston, Texas. When their offices were closed due to flooding from Hurricane Harvey, almost all employees achieved the same levels of productivity working remotely. And by being able to break up tasks at home, it offers health benefits and a reduction in the risk of injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome or back ache.

“Almost all of the study’s employees were right back up to the same level of output as they were doing before Hurricane Harvey. This is a huge message right now for employers because we’re having national debates about whether or not employees should be able to work remotely or on a hybrid schedule, said Mark Bendon, director of the school’s Ergonomics Centre.

“The research says that if you work a certain way at a certain pace over a certain duration, you’re more likely to become injured from that work,” Benden continued. “But if you work a little less or a little less often or break up the duration or have certain other character traits—like posture—then you’re less likely to develop a problem from doing your office work.”

Not every freelancer will be working remotely full-time or in a hybrid schedule. But for those who do, it’s another welcome bit of evidence that you don’t need to sit in an office to be productive, and that stepping away for a walk or to do some household tasks actually has health benefits. And anyone self-employed will be familiar with the resiliency required for managing client work and contracting, on top of remote working.

Even if you’re already happily working from home, it’s a reminder to invest in creating an ergonomic workspace, which can be achieved for less than you might expect. And to set schedules or reminders to take regular breaks, which can be hard to remember when you’re focused on a project. A cheap and simple timer (affiliate link) can be incredibly helpful as a reminder to get up from your desk every so often.

If you need more tips on exercise as a freelancer, why not take a listen to our podcast with Hannah Lewin, or find out why remote meetings don’t hurt creativity, despite recent media stories claiming otherwise.