Research: Remote work can boost productivity—and stress

A new study finds that virtual employees have less work-life balance than their office-bound counterparts, despite enjoying many other benefits.

Remote benefits

If you had access to a genie who granted career-based wishes, you might be tempted to use one on “never working from an office ever again.”

Before you go rubbing any lamps, you might want to review this research from Airtasker, which gleaned insights from more than 500 remote workers.

First, the good news. Respondents verify that it’s wonderful not having a commute. Saving more than $4,500 a year on gas is nice, too.

Airtasker’s remote work respondents also report exercising more during the week, squandering less time and taking fewer sick days than their office-bound colleagues. Virtual employees, on average, work 1.4 more days a month than traditional workers, the study finds.

How do remote workers stay so focused and productive, you ask? Thirty-seven percent say “taking breaks” is the key, and 23% recommend “waking up early.”

There is a price to pay for all that autonomy, however. Remote workers often find work bleeding into personal time. As Airtasker writes:

Without an office or traditional place to work, the line between work and personal life evidently begins to blur. In other words, remote employees have a worse work-life balance. While 29% of remote workers struggled to find a proper work-life balance, only 23% of office employees felt the same.

Remote workers might also struggle with a dearth of emotional and social support. Airtasker continues:

Anxiety and stress also spiked working away from the office. Fifty-four percent of remote employees said they had become overly stressed during the workday, and 45% experienced high levels of anxiety, compared to 49% and 42% of office employees, respectively. Evidence also shows that remote work correlates with higher levels of stress and longer workweeks.

So, before you leave that cubicle behind for good, ask yourself: “Is it worth a longer workweek, more stress and less face-to-face interaction?”

Read the rest of Airtasker’s report for more insights on the benefits—and challenges—of working from home.

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