Study: Remote Work Can Change How We Live

Working remotely has affected major life decisions for 24% of respondents to a survey of 3,000 office workers conducted by LogMeIn. That could mean everything from traveling more, to going back to school, or moving full-time to a vacation home.

"What we found was that while collaboration technology is often lauded for its beneficial effects on our work lives -- greater flexibility in scheduling, better communication with far-away coworkers, and increased collaboration and contact with clients -- it is also positively affecting how we live our lives outside of work," wrote LogMeIn's Eduardo Cocozza.

Being able to work remotely some or even all of the time lets workers make choices they couldn't if they had to go to an office every day. That can be small things like being able to use money once spent on commuting for something else to larger life decisions such as whether to have kids.

Choices matter

The majority of those surveyed (60%) said the ability to work remotely would make them more likely to take a job. Over one-quarter of respondents (28%) said they would be willing to take a lower-paying job if it came with a remote work option. In addition, 41% of those surveyed believe the ability to work remotely is "very important" to the future of business, and 40% said their lives would be worse without it.

"If remote work options provide benefits to both an individual's work life and their personal life, even going so far as to positively impact the way we live, companies need to take note and adjust their remote work policies accordingly to maximize the positive impact both for their business and employees," wrote Cocozza.

The ability to work remotely may affect multiple generations in ways that have yet to fully emerge. Over 40% of survey respondents ages 24-44 cited "the ability to take care of kids, family members, or pets" as a top benefit of working remotely.

That's an age bracket that's likely to have kids and, at the older end of the range it's a group that may have parents in need of care. Remote work certainly offers parents the flexibility to take care of their kids, but it also allows adult children to become at least-part-time caregivers for elderly parents.

Adapt and thrive

In a tight labor market, companies should take notice that some workers see the ability to work from home at least some of the time as a major benefit. It's also worth noting that offering that as a perk may take pressure off when it comes to having to offer the highest levels of pay.

Allowing telecommuting can clearly have benefits for both the employee and the employer. Technology certainly makes communication easier with a remote workforce than it ever has been, and it also holds employees accountable.

It's hard to see a downside for companies in offering workers flexibility when it comes to location. Whether that means working from home full-time or part-time, it offers employees the chance to do their jobs while also more fully living their lives.

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Daniel B. Kline has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.