The Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health recently published the results of a study into the impact of working in environments with other people. While their study was conducted before the Covid-19 pandemic, it revealed that occupants of an office with two people took 36% more sick days than those working alone.
Those who worked in an environment with three to six people, took 51% more sick days.
And those who worked alongside more than six people took 62% more sick days than those working alone. Of course, the spread of illness and infection is much more likely within groups, but the results were also attributed to mental health issues and the negative stress caused by distractions.
The environment of working on key projects with strict deadlines has an effect on our health. We often delay tasks until the office is quiet, or we arrive very early to get work done, or actually take a ‘sick day’ because we need some peace and quiet to focus.
Of course, these actions then have an additional effect on us, because working late or arriving early on a regular basis is not healthy, and taking sick days for the wrong reasons can also affect us (when we really are sick, we have already taken some allocated days etc.).
With so many people still now working from home, there are added distractions we need to consider such as our family and pets, all of whom expect our attention during the day, or who unwittingly interrupt us while we are working, which can also impact our mindsets.
The solution? No matter where you work, or how many people you have around you, in order to work distraction free and so create a healthy environment, you need a SYSTEM to get you there, and to protect your health now and into the future.