What’s worse for your health? Having a poor social life or smoking cigarettes? They may be just about equal, according to a study from Brigham Young University (BYU) and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Researchers believe people with poor social connections are 50 percent more likely to due within 7.5 years as people with healthier social lives. That’s on par with the mortality difference between non-smokers and smokers. Surprisingly, lifestyle factors like obesity and a lack of exercise have less impact on mortality than a poor social life.

“When someone is connected to a group and feels responsibility for other people, that sense of purpose and meaning translates to taking better care of themselves and taking fewer risks," says BYU psychology professor Julianne Holt-Lunstad. "The data simply show whether they were integrated in a social network. That means the effects of negative relationships are lumped in there with the positive ones. They are all averaged together."

Virtual offices won’t necessarily add years to your life, but the freedom that comes along with a virtual office can give you more time to establish live-extending social connections. Virtual offices allow you to be more productive from 9 to 5 so that you don’t have to burn the candle at both ends, missing opportunities to spend time with friends and family.

Virtual office technologies can actually enhance your social connections. You can stay in face-to-face contact with people you might not often see via web conferencing and video chat. You can also make more connections more quickly through virtual office technologies. By reducing the need for extensive travel, you can meet more often with more people virtually, and even for local lunches.

Virtual offices can indeed set the stage for important social connections. Whether you work in Manhattan or Miami, virtual offices give you the freedom to work from home, reducing commute time and increasing productivity. You can shift your work hours to meet the demands of the important people on your life during special occasions, or just curb your work hours with better time management. With a virtual office space, these realities are at your fingertips.