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People who work remotely are happier and more productive, study finds

Remote work

(NaturalNews) If you've been considering making the switch to telecommuting, it might be time to finally have that conversation with your boss, as a recent study shows that working remotely has many benefits for workers as well as their employers.

The study, which was carried out by employment survey firm TinyPulse, questioned more than 500 American full-time remote workers, and created a benchmark by pulling data from a pool of 200,000 employees.

Remote workers were asked to rank their happiness with their job on a scale from one to 10. The average happiness level reported by remote workers was 8.1, whereas office workers only averaged 7.42. Remote workers are even further ahead when it comes to feeling valued at work; their 7.75 average was more than a point higher than the 6.69 average reported by those who work in the office.

As might be expected, however, there was one area where remote working fell short, and that was social bonding. Remote workers rated their relationship to co-workers at 7.88 on average, with in-office workers averaging 8.47.

Employers benefit just as much as workers

Employers could well end up noting significant gains in productivity by allowing workers to telecommute. In the survey, 91 percent of people who work remotely report being more productive while working at home.

However, employers who wish to take this approach might want to start with workers who seem receptive to the idea. The study found that those who have been forced into remote working by their bosses, report lower levels of happiness about telecommuting than those who choose this path for themselves. Being given a choice in this important matter clearly plays a role in the worker's level of success in telecommuting.

It is interesting to note that remote workers' feelings of happiness about their situation actually grow over time, with those who have been telecommuting for six to 10 years being happier than those who are still in their first year of such an arrangement.

In addition, those who work shorter hours across seven days a week were happier than those who stick to a regular 9-to-5 schedule only on weekdays.

This corroborates the findings of a 2015 experiment outlined in the Harvard Business Review that showed remote workers' performances improved significantly, and they also took fewer breaks and sick days. The rate of staff turnover in the remote workers in this experiment was an impressive 50 percent lower than that of the control group that worked in the office.

Remote working can facilitate health, lifestyle improvements

The truth is that many workplaces are simply undesirable environments. It's easy to imagine why people who can work at home in front of a window overlooking trees in their yard, for example, would be happier than those staring at the dull gray confines of cubicle walls all day. Home workers can also take a number of beneficial actions that aren't always possible in an office environment, such as getting up from their desk and walking around, or doing short bursts of exercise, opening the window for fresh air, and listening to birds chirping and other sounds of nature from outside.

In addition, remote working can be a lot less stressful, as workers don't have to sit through long commutes, or worry about ironing dress shirts, for example. Chronic stress can make people vulnerable to illnesses and deplete the immune system. It has been linked to everything from diabetes, to weight gain, strokes and cancer, so anything that people can do to reduce their stress levels can have a positive impact on their overall health.

In addition, the time gained by not commuting can also be used for other purposes that can improve a person's mental and physical health, such as getting more sleep or exercise.

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