Hands down, the biggest benefit of being a telecommuter is being a happier person.

According to a Staples Advantage study in 2011, telecommuters reported a 25 percent decrease in stress levels. The press release started with, “Want happier, loyal, and more productive employees? Send them home!”

There’s definitely truth to this. Since I’ve started working from home, my habits have changed for the better. I’m no longer scrambling to rush out the door in the morning or functioning on six hours of sleep. The extra time that I have from not commuting is being put to good use. I’m using that time for me.

Here are four reasons why I’m a happier—and healthier—person because I telecommute:

I get more sleep.

During my commuter days, I used to wake up at 5:00 a.m. to get to work by 8:30 a.m. By the time I got home, it was 9:00 p.m. and I went to bed by 11:00 p.m. I got six hours of sleep every night. According to a study by Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Massachusetts, we need seven hours of sleep for a good night’s rest. That explains why I was exhausted by every Friday afternoon, and spent most of my weekends recovering from the work week.

Now that I don’t have to endure a commute, I get hours of more sleep per night. Since I’m so rested during the week, I have more fulfilling weekends and don’t have to play “catch up” with sleep.

I eat better.

I’m a healthier eater because I work from home. I eat better as a telecommuter for primarily two reasons: I’m not exposed to junk food at home and I have time to cook. I don’t have to worry about grabbing a bag of chips to mindlessly munch on, because I don’t buy chips at home. Instead of trying to eat foods with the least amount of preparation in the morning, I have time to cook a balanced meal at home.

I exercise more.

According to a study done by ConnectSolutions, 32 percent of telecommuters get more exercise. I know I started exercising more consistently when I began working at home. Since I’m not tied to a strict schedule, I can squeeze in exercise more comfortably. My schedule is a lot more flexible, so I exercise in the middle of the day, when I don’t have to worry about crowds. I am also less tired in the middle of the day, so I have enough energy to get through my workout. Exercising in the afternoon also gives me energy to be productive during the second half of my day.

I spend more time with my dog.

Studies have shown that having pets lowers blood pressure and can help people relax. Now that I work at home, I can spend all day with my dog without worrying about bringing her to daycare or hiring a dog walker. Both me and my dog are happier because we have each other’s company throughout the day.

Readers, what about working from home makes you happy?

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