Telecommuting can be a lifesaver for workers who are looking to find a better blend of work-life balance. And having a remote workforce is a win/win for employers, too, saving them thousands of dollars per employee annually (not to mention the big productivity boost experienced by having a telecommuting staff). But there are other ways in which telecommuting can benefit society on the whole that may not be as obvious. Here are just four out-of-the-box ways in which telecommuting can be beneficial.

Telecommuting helps kids get better grades.

Many working parents know all too well the stress that comes with trying to fit in the myriad of activities that kids have on a daily basis. While you might be able to scale back on some of the things that your kid is involved in, let’s say that your kid is failing in math. By the time you get home from working all day, you’re too tired to teach your kid how to add mixed fractions. (And even if you weren’t tired, you’ve kind of forgotten how to do it, anyway.) When your child has access to virtual tutors, it doesn’t matter if your kid’s teacher is in California—and you’re in Connecticut. Online education just might be the ticket to your kid getting a passing grade, and allows you as the parent to have your pick of educators without worrying about geography.

Telecommuting can potentially eliminate some in-office doctors’ appointments.

How often have you sat waiting for almost an hour to be seen by a doctor, only to be rushed in and out of the examination room in under 10 minutes? If you calculate all the time spent commuting to the doctor’s office, waiting to be seen, and then returning home, it can total a significant chunk out of your day. But what if patients could be seen virtually? They could transmit all of their medical and insurance info electronically, and then be “seen” virtually by a doctor or a physician’s assistant. Not only would it cut down on clogged waiting rooms, but it would be a faster and better use of everyone’s time—for both the medical staff and the patients, too.

Telecommuting helps give disabled workers more options.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 17.6 percent of people with disabilities were employed in 2013, as opposed to 64 percent of those without a disability. Workers with a disability were more likely to have part-time jobs, and not work full-time— but that’s not to say that these workers want to have part-time employment. Being able to find a telecommuting job allows workers (disabled or not), the opportunity to find the type of work that they really want to have, including the option to work part-time or full-time if they wish.

Telecommuting encourages people to advance in their careers.

As you’ve moved along in your career, you’ve probably realized the benefit of continuing your own education as a way to score a higher-paying job. After a long day spent in the office and commuting back home, though, you probably feel like cracking open a bottle of wine, and not a textbook. When you have a flexible schedule, you can dedicate time to both your current job and the career you imagine for yourself in the future—without sacrificing either one. With a telecommuting job, there’s no excuse for not continuing your education, since you’ll have the time, flexibility, and a non-stressful environment in which to do so.

Telecommuting has immediate benefits for both employers and their employees. But taking a step back, telecommuting promises a lot more than financial savings and increased productivity. It offers the most important thing—flexibility. Where employers and employees choose to take flex is up to them, but one thing is certain: the possibilities are limitless.

What are some of the out-of-the-box ways you think telecommuting can be beneficial?

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