Understanding the Connection Between Stress, Remote Work, and Smoking: Finding Healthy Ways to Cope

Since 2020, work-from-home arrangements have become increasingly prevalent. According to a March 2023 Pew Research Center report, 35% of workers in the United States choose to work remotely full-time when given the option. For many, the transition to remote work has brought with it newfound flexibility and autonomy, leading to increased productivity and job satisfaction. This was confirmed in a study by Owl Labs and Global Workplace Analytics, which found that 62% of employees feel more productive when working remotely.

However, alongside these benefits, remote work has also introduced its own set of challenges, particularly concerning stress and the development of unhealthy habits. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the connection between stress, remote work, and smoking, providing tips on how remote workers can effectively quit and adopt healthier coping mechanisms to deal with work-related stress. 

After the novelty of remote work wore off, industry reports revealed that remote workers experienced higher levels of stress compared to fully onsite workers. Data from Gallup highlights that, across the globe, remote and hybrid workers are more likely to experience high levels of stress than full-time office workers (43% and 45%, respectively, compared to 38%).

In a Frontiers study, researchers partly attributed greater stress among remote workers to technology exhaustion, which occurs when an individual feels physically and mentally drained due to their overuse of technology. Moreover, as technology exhaustion increased and subjective well-being diminished, remote workers experienced greater burnout, anxiety, and fatigue. The lack of physical separation between work and personal life, along with feelings of isolation, were also identified as significant contributors to elevated stress levels among remote workers. 

As for the connection between remote work and smoking, studies on this topic have yielded mixed results. Research from the Journal of Occupational Health indicates that smoking prevalence and intensity were lower among those who worked more frequently from home, possibly due to smoke-free housing laws and concerns for non-smoking family members’ secondhand smoke exposure.

On the other hand, what we do know is that workers may engage in smoking as a coping mechanism for stress. This was noted in a systematic review published in the Journal of Workplace Behavioral Health, which suggests that job-related stress may affect smoking initiation, progression, and intensity. The convenience and accessibility of smoking while working remotely, combined with heightened stress levels, can create a conducive environment for the initiation or exacerbation of smoking habits.

Smoking cessation strategies for remote workers

Given the well-known detrimental impacts of smoking on overall health and well-being, it’s vital for remote workers who smoke to explore effective cessation strategies. Fortunately, quit-smoking aids, such as nicotine pouches, are easily accessible nowadays. Nicotine pouches deliver controlled doses of nicotine without the harmful toxins found in traditional cigarettes, helping users manage cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

These pouches work by being tucked between the lip and gums, allowing for gradual nicotine absorption. One brand that stands out is Juice Head pouches, which are all-white pouches with Zero Tobacco Nicotine (ZTN). Unlike other brands on the market, this one uses synthetic nicotine, which prevents you from consuming any trace of tobacco. These pouches are also available in delicious flavors like Peach Pineapple Mint, Blueberry Lemon Mint, and Strawberry Mint, in 6 or 12mg strengths, making them more attractive as cessation aids.

Aside from nicotine pouches, remote workers can consider pharmacotherapy, nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs), or both. According to Yorkshire Cancer Research, a combination of NRT or Champix and e-cigarettes successfully aided 84.1% of smokers during a 12-week cessation period. These methods provide smokers with viable alternatives to cigarettes, reducing the associated health risks while supporting their journey towards quitting. 

Healthy coping mechanisms

In addition to addressing smoking habits, remote workers can adopt various strategies to cope with stress in a healthier manner. As we discussed in a 6 Ways to Reduce Stress post, this can include incorporating exercise into daily routines. Regular physical activity, whether it’s a brisk walk, yoga session, or home workout, has been shown to reduce stress levels and improve mental well-being.

Prioritizing sleep is another crucial aspect of managing stress in a remote work environment. Establishing a consistent sleep schedule and creating a conducive sleep environment can enhance sleep quality and promote relaxation. With adequate rest, remote workers can approach work challenges with a clear mind and heightened resilience.

Finally, avoid isolating yourself during tough or stressful times, especially if you’re also trying to quit smoking. Instead, make sure that you maintain personal relationships and have social interactions. Loneliness not only worsens stress but can also make quitting smoking more difficult. For this, reach out to friends and loved ones who can offer support and encouragement. You can also get the help of a trained counselor or therapist if you’re struggling with cessation or burnout from work. 

Overall, while remote work offers numerous advantages, it also brings with it unique challenges related to stress management and unhealthy coping mechanisms. By understanding the connection between stress, remote work, and smoking, individuals can implement targeted strategies to support their mental and physical health. From utilizing smoking alternatives to developing healthier coping habits, remote workers have a wealth of resources at their disposal to successfully manage the demands of work-from-home setups while prioritizing their cessation efforts. 

Pam Wiselogel
Pam Wiselogel

Hi, I'm Pam! A corporate girl turned entrepreneur who has been working from home for over 20 years and loving it. From a corporate IT Director to an online business owner, I found success while working remotely (sometimes in my PJs). I've been able to find balance in life and career and love to share what I've learned with others. With my master's degree in software engineering and a career in technology, my drive is to help others learn how to bypass the hurdles and technology challenges to gain the confidence to build the dream business they've always wanted to reach financial freedom. My work has been quoted on Forbes, Bloomberg, European Business Review, Hive, and Business Partner Magazine to name a few. Click my little head above to read all of my posts!

Work From Home Adviser
Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors