Remote work programs are becoming an increasingly popular way to improve employees’ overall wellness by reducing stress, and allowing for a healthier work/life balance. According to a recent study by Staples Advantage, by 2016, the number of regular telecommuters in the U.S. is expected to reach 4.9 million, which represents a 69 percent increase from the current number of remote workers.
Recent studies have shown that:
- Telecommuting is considered a job perk by 80% of employees
- Two-thirds of employees would take a new job to reduce their commute time
- The average employee reports a 25% decrease in stress by telecommuting even part time
- Productivity has been shown to increase by upwards of 20% when employees are able to work from a home office
- 4 out of 5 employees say they have a better work-life balance by telecommuting
As the number of telecommuters continues to rise, it’s important for companies to think strategically about all aspects of their remote work programs to ensure cost savings, productivity and a healthier work/life balance for employees.
Here are just a few of the benefits that telecommuting can have on your employees’ health:
Remote work greatly reduces the stress associated with long commutes to and from work. According to the latest U.S. Census data on commuting, Americans spend around 25 minutes in their cars both to and from the office, and more than half a million full-time workers endure “megacommutes” of at least an hour-and-a-half and 50 miles one way. Telecommuting can save your employees the headache of sitting in rush hour traffic, as well as reduce their carbon emissions and save them around $1,500 in fuel and vehicle maintenance every year.
Greater Job Satisfaction
By allowing employees to telecommute even a few days a week, you can increase employees’ sense of autonomy to improve morale. Workers are able to escape the stress of office politics and have the flexibility to balance work and their personal needs by eliminating their drive to work. A flexible work program also reduces the stress associated with relocating to a different city or other big life changes like having kids. All of this equates to improved quality of life, more time with family and greater job satisfaction.
Healthier Lifestyle Choices
Remote work makes it much easier to choose healthy options for meals, and introduce simple exercise regimes. While you can do these things in the office, it’s much easier to grab a healthy snack from the pantry, rather than having to plan ahead to bring healthy food to the office. Telecommuting can also have physical and mental health benefits such as improved blood pressure and sleep quality, and employees are less likely to pick up seasonal illness that spreads around the office. That means less absenteeism because of health-related issues.
A few other advantages that businesses enjoy by allowing their employees to telecommute include:
- The ability to hire the most qualified staff, regardless of location
- Higher employee retention rates
- Savings around $11,000 per telecommuting employee per year in reduced overhead costs such as real estate, utilities and supplies
What is your company’s policy on remote working? What experience have you had with telecommuting? Share your stories in the comments below.
By: Victoria Fields