There are a lot of reasons to switch to a remote work lifestyle: The freedom to work from anywhere, the opportunity to make your own hours (when possible), and the chance to spend more time with family.
But that doesn’t mean remote work is all roses all the time. Loneliness, a struggle to self-motivate, working more hours, and trouble disconnecting at the end of the day are all challenges most telecommuters face at some time or another.
Nevertheless, according to a recent study by TSheets by QuickBooks, for most remote workers, the pros massively outweigh the cons. If you’re considering leaving the office for a more flexible workspace, here are a few of the lifestyle improvements you can expect, according to our 500 survey respondents.
1. More time with the ones you love
This is a big one. As any parent can tell you, you’ll never get back the time you spent away from your family. Likewise, you’ll never be able to quantify those memories you made together.
If spending time with loved ones is on your list of priorities, here’s some good news: According to survey responses, 88 percent of remote workers experienced a positive impact to their family life after making the switch to telecommuting. Part of that could be due to more time with kids, which was one of the top five benefits remote workers listed when asked what they liked best about their situation.
2. Improved productivity and a sense of accomplishment
More than half of remote workers said their productivity increases when they work remotely. That’s despite the fact over 50 percent found their distractions and interruptions increased or remained the same. And no wonder! If working in exotic Thailand won’t give you a reason to put work aside, no distraction will! Yet most workers reported being more productive than they were in a traditional office environment.
Some of this comes down to logistics as well. The remote workers from our survey said they save nearly three hours a week on average (164.56 minutes) by not commuting. That’s time better spent finishing up projects and planning ahead. It’s amazing how much more creative and productive you feel when you aren’t battling fellow commuters for the room on the road.
3. Better mental and physical health
Working on site may be the norm, but that doesn’t mean it’s healthy. From eight hours spent stationary to non-ergonomic desks to a fear of taking breaks when the boss is in, traditional office environments can have negative effects on employee mental and physical health.
Add in stressful meetings, traffic jams, and the unnecessary distractions of working next to a sick or chatty co-worker, and it’s easy to see why 84 percent of telecommuters reported better mental health and 75 percent claimed better physical health.
Plus, better mental and physical health means more energy for accomplishing the dreams that matter most. In fact, 86 percent of survey respondents said remote work had positively affected their life goals.
4. More money in the bank
This may not be true for every remote worker, but according to survey respondents, 84 percent experienced a positive impact on their finances after switching to a telecommuter lifestyle.
While that could have something to do with the company they joined or the job they’re doing, it may also be a direct result of fewer expenses. For instance, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average commute to work is 25.4 minutes. That’s nearly an hour a day!
Besides the fact time is money, the price of gas adds up too. And that doesn’t even factor in the price of wear and tear on the car or the cost of public transportation if you’re one of those who take the train.
5. Better career opportunities
Working remotely often allows workers to take control of their own destiny. As a telecommuter, you define where you work and when you work. Certainly, some of that is defined by your employer, depending on the job, but oftentimes, remote work comes with improved flexibility, confidence, and opportunities to learn and move up.
But you don’t have to take our word for it! According to survey respondents, 80 percent felt remote work had a positive impact on their career.
6. More time to socialize
This might seem like a bit of a contradiction, especially since the No. 1 concern for remote workers was putting in more hours than they used to. But despite working a longer day, most telecommuters (71 percent) said their social life had improved.
That’s fortunate, given one of the top five concerns for remote workers was loneliness — an understandable side effect of not having face-to-face interactions with co-workers. But a flexible workday means more freedom to make it to social occasions. Sure, remote workers may experience fewer human interactions during the day overall, but the tradeoff could be more quality time with the people you’re closest to.
7. Remote opportunities are opportunities to thrive
Not every telecommute position is going to be a good one. Like any work situation, there will be pros and cons to the experience, and it’s important to find the opportunity that fits the unique person you are. But by and large, if the survey statistics are to be believed, there’s a lot to love about working remotely.