As you sit in your car, staring mindlessly at the brake lights in front of you, maybe you’re thinking, “How can I get rid of this awful commute?”
You aren’t the only one starting to see commuting as a waste of time and money. Whether you call it teleworking, working from home or working remotely, flexible workplace arrangements are on the rise.
According to a report from the New Jersey Institute of Technology, about 45% of American workers telecommute. Depending on your line of work, you might not be able to work entirely from home. The success of sales jobs, for example, depends on client meetings. Most jobs provide some level of flexibility, so working from home is usually possible at least one or two days a week.
The average commute accounts for about an hour of every day, so people concerned with performance and health may see telecommuting as a way to gain an hour back every day.
As technology and workplace flexibility advance, many more employees have the option to work remotely. The financial and time management benefits are evident, but did you know that working remotely is also great for your health?
It Is Good for Relationships
Coming home from work irritated and stressed after fighting traffic for 30 minutes doesn’t exactly contribute to quality time with the family. It can take an hour or more to wind down after a stressful commute. Rush hour sure seems to last longer than an hour, doesn’t it?
You aren’t the only one bringing traffic-induced negativity home with you. Studies show that couples who endure long commutes are 40% more likely to get divorced than those with short or no commutes. Working remotely means less time spent commuting, which means couples and families can spend more time together.
Time together, whether it’s making dinner or doing another activity, means time to communicate and bond. It builds a strong support system — healthy, happy relationships provide the support and care needed for success at work and at home.
It Can Encourage Healthy Eating Habits
The workplace offers temptations that sabotage healthy eating. You graze through the candy bowl at work five times in one morning. You pop over to the local burger joint out of convenience.
At night, when you retreat home exhausted from an especially busy day at work, you dig through the freezer for a microwavable pizza or other calorie-laden frozen meal.
When working remotely, your entire kitchen and fridge are at your disposal. You can easily make a salad, eat healthy leftovers from the night before, or grab an apple from the fruit bowl instead of chocolate from the candy bowl.
Working remotely gives you greater control over your eating habits. Plus, there is no pressure from colleagues to head out to the food trucks at lunchtime.
It Can Lower Your Chance of Getting Sick
Our current system of paid time off, paired with a society that praises those who describe themselves as workaholics, doesn’t exactly encourage people to stay home when they are sick. As a result, your cubicle mate spends most of the day sneezing and blowing her nose while she explains to you, “I just don’t have the paid time off to stay home sick today!” Of course, you wake up the next day with a sore throat of your own.
Working remotely may expose you to fewer sick people and germs, allowing you to stay healthy and productive.
It Allows You to Stay Active
If you work at a computer all day, you often sit in your desk chair for hours without getting up. This sedentary life has led some people to proclaim that sitting all day at work “is the new smoking.” Sitting for hours without moving can seriously affect your health and physical well-being.
However, when you are working remotely, you are probably getting up to do a load of laundry, take the dog out for a quick walk or grab the mail and chat with the mailman. These activities are 10-minute mental — and physical — breaks that allow you to come back to work feeling mentally refreshed. At work, it’s similar to the coffee walk or trek to the kitchen you take more infrequently than you should.
Besides the incidental moments of activity, working remotely allows you to exercise more easily. Now that you don’t have to drive to work, you can take a quick jog around the neighborhood before work begins.
Even your lunch break becomes more dynamic when you’re a telecommuter. At the office, a midday shower isn’t an option, so a cardio workout is out of the question. But at home, you can head to the gym for a training session, shower, and still be back at your desk within the hour allotted.
Your active lifestyle is no longer relegated to late evening and early morning. When you work remotely, you can stay moving all day long.
Working remotely is becoming more common, and companies and C-suite leadership are increasingly recognizing the financial and productivity benefits of flexible work situations. And for the employee, the impressive health benefits of working remotely should not be overlooked or ignored.