It’s a proven fact: telecommuters balance work and family life better than office workers. But it’s also a proven fact that telecommuters can maintain that balance even while sometimes squeezing in a couple extra days’ worth of work each week. So say researchers from Brigham Young University (BYU).

BYU analyzed data from 24,436 IBM employees in 75 countries. Given a flexible schedule and the option to telecommute, employees were able to clock 57 hours per week before experiencing an imbalance between work and personal life—and not all of those 57 hours are telecommuting hours.

According to E. Jeffrey Hill, a professor in BYU’s School of Family Life, the typical high-flexibility work arrangement includes a mix of office time and firing up the laptop from home, the venue depending on the task at hand. Virtual office space can help with the latter.

“Telecommuting is really only beneficial for reducing work-life conflict when it is accompanied by flextime,” Hill says. “Managers were initially skeptical about the wisdom of working at home and said things like, ‘If we can’t see them, how can we know they are working?’”

Nowadays more than 80 percent of IBM managers agree that productivity increases in a flexible environment. In the current economy, the scenario is being repeated with other businesses feeling the pinch. Virtual office space can enable flextime at large and small companies.

“A down economy may actually give impetus to flexibility because most options save money or are cost-neutral,” Hill says. “Flexible work options are associated with higher job satisfaction, boosting morale when it may be suffering in a down economy.”

Virtual office space is also an economical option in a down economy, both for the company and its employees. Employees can save on gas and even lunch expenses by working at home from a virtual office a couple of days a week. And companies can lease less office space if workers are distributed more evenly across the headquarters and the home front.

Virtual office technologies ensure that employees don’t miss a beat in terms of client or staff meetings. Virtual office technologies like Cisco’s WebEx, for example, enable seamless meetings from anywhere. Whether your employees are stationed in your city or road warriors traveling from place to place, virtual office technologies can drive greater productivity—and greater employee satisfaction—at your company.