Is telecommuting better for your health?

Image courtesy of Flickr user epSos.de

COMMENTARY The cost of commuting -- in terms of gas, time, carbon emissions and any other number of measures -- is high. But does commuting also take a toll on your health? A recent Swedish study, which tracked 12,000 workers and evaluated their work commutes and overall health, concludes that is does.

According to the Daily Mail, people who travel to work by car or public transit had higher levels of stress and less energy than people who got to work using other methods of transportation.

WebWorkerDaily interprets this study as an indirect endorsement of telecommuting. The site concludes that working from home and avoiding the stress of commuting entirely is a net win for both employee and employer.

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This all makes intuitive sense -- you don't really need a formal academic study to figure that people will be more relaxed and perhaps even healthier if they can avoid spending an hour a day in a car or on a bus. But is there a medical rationale behind this as well? Dr. Redford Williams thinks so. The Duke University Medial Center stress expert asserts:

We know that people who have a lot of demands and very little control over how they meet those demands are at a higher risk for negative health effects. And when you're relying on a train to get to work, it's totally out of your control most of the time.

So chalk this up as yet another piece of evidence that telework programs are smart and prudent ways to enhance both employee and business health.

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