Every job involves some degree of stress, but remote arrangements provide multiple ways to ease the pressure. Less tension translates to more satisfied workers capable of reaching greater heights both professionally and personally.
But don’t just take our word for it. Members of the fully remote team from the personal finance website First Quarter Finance had plenty to say when we inquired about telecommuting’s role in keeping stress down.
Here’s a first-hand look at how remote work can lower stress levels:
The average one-way commute in the U.S. stands at 26.1 minutes. Gaining back this time by telecommuting—and eliminating the hassles associated with traveling back and forth —definitely can increase well-being.
“I don’t have a commute anymore, which is huge,” says Amanda Bellucco-Chatham. “Not only does this spare me from sitting in rush hour twice a day, but it gives me more time in the morning to wake up, grab a coffee, and enjoy the morning without having to run straight out the door. Working remotely also saves me hundreds of dollars a year on gas and vehicle maintenance—which also lowers my stress.”
Adds colleague Lindsey Desmet, “I live in Michigan, and when we get hit with a sudden ice storm or eight inches of snow, it’s nice not to worry about hazardous driving or missed work.”
Control over work environment.
Whether working in comfortable clothes or being spared interruptions from chatty coworkers, telecommuting promotes individuals developing a space that enhances productivity and happiness.
“Working remotely allows me to create the environment and habits that maximize focus and flexibility. For me, the best environment is a standing desk, lit candle, and instrumental music—the latter two aren’t as possible with coworkers around,” says Kate Braun.
“My home office is 100% my own space, and I’ve been able to arrange and personalize it in a way I wouldn’t have been able to anywhere else. It’s comfortable. The familiarity makes sitting down at my desk feel welcoming. My pets are another huge stress reliever, and I get to hang out with them while I work. It makes my day that much brighter,” Bellucco-Chatham says.
She also notes that a home office eliminates stressing over distractions like petty office drama or who is looking over your shoulder. “The peace and quiet means I can focus entirely on my work while being more productive and efficient.”
Better work-life balance.
Lastly, telecommuters tout their arrangement as helpful to handling whatever comes their way and promoting positive behaviors that support mental health.
“The flexibility of remote work makes it easier to manage stress,” Desmet notes. “If a family member needs help, I can just pack up my laptop and work from their home. Some remote jobs do have set hours, but those I’ve worked have only required a certain number of hours per week, making it far easier to schedule personal appointments, take days off occasionally for self-care, and make time for the things I love to do outside of work.”
As Carli Miller summarizes, “Working remotely minimizes elements from my schedule that otherwise wouldn’t add value to my day or get me closer to my broader goals, leaving more time to pursue endeavors that improve my life and promote well-being. Instead of a two-hour round-trip commute, I get to meal prep, meditate, and exercise. High self-efficacy, which is associated with lower stress levels, exists at the intersection between productivity and autonomy, and working remotely has helped create those conditions for me. I get a lot done in my personal and professional life domains without sacrificing my health. As a result, my stress has never been lower.”
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