Flexible Work Options Could Boost Mental, Emotional Well-Being

95% believe remote opportunities may contribute to happiness
man drinking coffee while working from home

While the jury may be out on whether working remotely enhances productivity, a new survey suggests that it can have a positive impact on employees’ mental and emotional well-being.

FlexJobs, an employment site that specializes in remote opportunities, surveyed 3,900 workers to find how employees’ work situations affect their personal health. The research found that having a flexible work arrangement can play a major role in mental and emotional wellness.

Job flexibility and mental health

Among the survey respondents, 2,100 reported having a mental illness, such as depression or anxiety. Of those respondents, 84% said they believed a flexible job would help them manage their mental illnesses more effectively.

Overall, 35% said they have experienced challenging personal events, such as the death or illness of a loved one or a divorce, that required them to take additional time off. Among those respondents, 88% said that if their job had offered the option of working remotely, they would have been able to continue working during that period.

There has been a lot of research done about the pros and cons of a flexible workplace. For example, one survey suggests remote working leads to productivity challenges, while another points out that remote workers sometimes struggle with work-life balance despite having more free time.

Remote working and personal health

The No. 1 reason employees cite for wanting a flexible job is that they want more work-life balance. In fact, 67% of respondents said work-life balance was the biggest appeal of such work arrangements. However, respondents noted a number of other perceived benefits.

Most respondents (95%) thought having a flexible job would make them happier. On top of that:

  • 89% thought remote working would allow them to take better care of themselves
  • 86% thought a flexible job would be less stressful
  • 67% thought working remotely would give them more time to exercise

Many respondents also believe that job flexibility can have a positive effect on their personal relationships. A majority of respondents (88%) said the ability to work remotely would allow them to spend more time with family, while 78% said it would give them more time to spend with friends. An overwhelming 94% of those with children, or were planning to have children, said a flexible job would help them be a better parent, while 85% of pet owners said it would help them be a better pet parent.

Some respondents even believed remote working could improve their love lives, as 64% said it would help their romantic relationship overall, while 64% said it would improve their sex lives.

Only you know your ideal work situation. However, when considering the best job opportunity for you, it’s a good idea to consider what is best professionally and personally. A job that makes you feel happier about your overall life could turn out to be a better opportunity than one that pays a higher salary.

Tamara E. Holmes

Tamara E. Holmes is a Washington, DC-based writer who covers personal finance, entrepreneurship and careers.

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