NEW YORK—Are you stressed out? Join the club. According to Towers Watson’s latest Staying@Work survey, chronic stress is so chronic and so stressful that it’s actually driving an increase in disability claims. Virtual offices can help.

“The evidence overwhelmingly shows that effective health and productivity programs can make a real difference to an organization’s bottom line,” says Wendy Poirier, Health and Group Benefits Leader for Towers Watson in Canada. “There are unrelenting pressures on employers and employees today, but improving employee health is an opportunity for a true win-win.”

One way you can ease the unrelenting pressure on workers is by allowing them to work from a virtual office in a flextime telecommuting arrangement. Virtual office technologies make it possible for employees to stay connected to the corporate network and communications systems, yet get a reprieve, of sorts, from the daily grind. Study after study shows that employees are actually more productive from a virtual office. So allowing virtual office use can kill two birds with one stone.

So, to review, allowing employees to telecommute from a virtual office drives up productivity and reduces stress, i.e. the stress of fighting traffic to get to work on time, the stress of dealing with office politics, the stress of distractions while you are on deadline and so on.

Alternative workplace strategies have been heralded as a means to reduce corporate real estate costs, but these tactics can also be used to reduce stress, which can have a ripple effect on the productivity of an organization. Virtual offices and other virtual technologies can also allow employees who are out of the office long-term continue contributing to the team effort, even if it is only part time.

Check out this video on dealing with job-related stress: