woman working from home

How to stay heart-healthy while working from home

28 June 2024

With the pandemic making remote working, work from home (WFH), or hybrid working environments more common, many of us are spending more time away from the office than ever before.

While a flexible work environment can have many benefits, such as more time with family and reduced commute times, it can also have potential impacts on our health.

We take a look at what the research says about working from home and heart health, and offer some tips to ensure good heart health regardless of your work environment.

What does the research say?

The current research on how working from home impacts our health is mixed, which is likely due to the fact that health impacts can vary based on individual circumstances.

A 2023 review into the impact of working from home found that most of the studies reviewed showed a tendency for more sedentary behaviour when working from home. However for structured physical activity, the findings were mixed between more, similar, or less physical activity when working from home.

In relation to diet, the review studies found that snacking, overall food consumption, and weight tended to increase when working from home, but also found an increase in the intake of vegetables, fruit, dairy, and self-made meals, particularly in younger workers and female workers.

Findings in relation to mental health and wellbeing were also mixed, with the authors suggesting this area of health is likely to be strongly dependent on factors such as gender, number of dependents, work type, preference for working alone or in groups etc.

What are the potential heart health impacts when working from home?

As the research suggests, working from home has the potential to negatively impact heart health by changing our behaviour in several key areas.

This includes:

Poor diet, lack of exercise and stress are all major risk factors for heart disease, which is why it’s important to consider these lifestyle factors when working from home.

What can I do to ensure good heart health when working from home?

Physical activity

To ensure you move enough during work from home days, you could:

Healthy eating

To ensure you’re making healthy diet choices on work from home days, you could:

Stress management

To ensure you’re making choices that support your mental wellbeing on work from home days, you could:

Acknowledgement of Country

The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past and present.

Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute - The Home of Heart Research for 30 Years