While you may think working from home will give you more time and energy to devote to your family and personal life, a new survey suggests remote workers may have less work-life balance than their in-office peers.
Air Tasker, an online platform that connects consumers with gig workers who perform tasks for pay, surveyed 1,004 full-time employees to find out how working in an office compares to working from home. Among the respondents, 505 worked remotely, while the rest worked in a traditional workplace setting.
Anyone thinking remote employees don’t have the discipline to get things done need not worry, the survey suggests. In fact, remote workers on average worked 1.4 more days than their workplace counterparts each month, which adds up to 16.8 more days per year. Remote workers also appear to be better able to focus on the task at hand, as they reported losing 27 minutes each workday to distractions compared with 37 minutes lost by office employees.
The survey also suggests that the notion of remote working contributing to a more balanced lifestyle is a myth. Nearly one-third of remote workers — 29% — said they struggle to achieve work-life balance despite working from home, which is a higher percentage than the 23% of office employees who felt that way. Millennial employees who work remotely are even more likely to struggle with work-life balance as nearly 1 in 3 respondents described that as a challenge.
Remote employees also appear to be more stressed out, as 54% said they have become overly stressed during the workday compared with 49% of office employees.
That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of benefits to working from home. Remote workers may be physically healthier than their in-office colleagues, as respondents who worked remotely spent on average 25 minutes more each week exercising. Working from home can also have a positive effect on your wallet, as remote workers saved on average $4,523 per year on fuel costs since they didn’t have to drive to work.
And while remote workers may be working more, they still end up with more free time in their day, as losing the commute saved respondents an extra 408 hours — or 17 days — a year.
Through experience, remote workers have found ways to be more productive, the survey found. Among respondents, the most effective ways were taking breaks (37%), adhering to set work hours (33%) and creating and following a to-do list (30%). Having a set routine has also proven to be effective as 25% of remote workers said they were more productive thanks to working at the same location each day.
While remote working opportunities are becoming more common, make sure you understand both the pros and the cons before choosing to work from home. Simply relocating from a corporate office to a home office isn’t enough to ensure that you have a balanced lifestyle. Rather, you must set clear boundaries between your professional life and personal life in order to make room for both. One positive statistic to consider when you’re weighing a remote opportunity: Remote workers are more likely to excel in their careers, one study found.