Would you be happier working from home? It’s a no-brainer question for most people. Some immediately say they would jump at the chance, while others say they would never want that arrangement. Some moms understandingly enjoy the outside, adult interaction that the workplace provides. Having a reason to put on nice clothes and leave the house is yet another common reason cited, as many people tend to think of those who work from home as sitting inside in their jammies all day long. (I would say the opposite is true.)
However, according to a recent survey, telecommuters are in general happier and healthier people, which in turn, cultivates better parents. As employees, they are more satisfied, which results in better workers.
Here are the specific ways that telecommuting helps parents and companies:
Not only happier but healthier: When asked to draw comparisons, telecommuters say their stress levels have dropped 25 percent on average since working from home. Seventy-three percent even say they eat healthier when working from home because they have more time to exercise, prepare healthy meals, and engage in activities that de-stress, such as yoga and walking.
More loyal employees: Without the trek to the office—on average, a 75-mile round-trip for respondents—76 percent of telecommuters are more willing to put in extra time on work and say they are more loyal to their company since telecommuting. Telecommuters also report they work much more efficiently and longer when they can work from their home office.
Better balanced: More than 80 percent say they now maintain a better work-life balance. Employees say the stress reduction that comes with losing their long commutes enable them to enjoy their daily lives more simply by gaining a few extra hours each day. Gaining two to three extra hours each day enables shopping, cleaning, and parental chores to get done much more easily.
Once you have kids, career goals tend to shift. Even moms that prefer working out of an office often tend to seek out more flexible work schedules when they become mothers so they have a quality home life. If you would like to telecommute, I’d encourage you to seek out ways that you can in your given field by joining online groups, networking with work-from-home moms, and asking any telecommuting mom they know how they do it.
Years ago, I left a fulltime job that was one-and-a-half to two hours away with no definite plan (not the smartest thing), but managed to find enough writing and editing gigs to be able to work from home fulltime. Last year, with my kids now older, I went back to a flex job where I work three days a week in the office and two days from home, but the years I worked exclusively from my home office were invaluable. It enabled me to have a much more active social life than when I was holed up in my Manhattan office, enduring 80-hour workweeks. It also allowed me attend to every school event or household emergency without having to take a sick day. But best of all, it gave me the chance to excel in a field that I truly love and work with talented professionals that I’m proud to call colleagues.
So am I healthier and happier for it? You can bet on it!
Danielle Sullivan is a writer living in New York City. Follow her on Instagram