Going to work used to mean rising in the early hours of the morning, packing a lunch, then driving to the office for another day in the 9 to 5 grind. As little as a decade ago, housewives were the only people that could really claim to have, what is now referred to, as a stay at home job. The introduction of computers into the workplace did little to change the role of the working man and woman, but when they started to creep into more and more homes, the work landscape started to change. The real tipping point came when internet connections went high speed, giving people the ability to quickly and efficiently login to the company network from home.
Telecommuting was alive and well, and all of a sudden everyone wanted to be freed from the shackles of the cubicle so that they could work from home. The big question for companies that thought about allowing their employees to work from the comfort of their home office was the amount of output that they would get from doing so. The fear was that people would take advantage of the situation and spend more time watching soaps and sports than they would on getting an important report finished. The fact that more and more companies are letting employees work from home tells us that those fears may have been largely unfounded.
If you look at it from the position of the employee, you actually get a better idea of why telecommuting actually works. Yes, there are sure to be distractions in the home that you don’t have at work, but you can give in to those and still get the work done. Who says that an 8 hour work day has to be done consecutively? It can be argued that it’s easier to be productive when you can step away from what you are working for a few minutes, allowing your brain a little time to recharge as you tend to your crops in Farmville.
The funny thing is that research has shown that people do tend to be more productive when they work from home, but it’s also surprising that a good many of those prefer the traditional work environment. What tends to be forgotten is that working from home can be a wholly solitary endeavor that leaves many people yearning for some sort of water cooler interaction. We are, as a whole, social beings that need the company of others to keep us happy.
Working from home is now not just something that is done by company employees. Many have used the power of the internet to strike out on their own and try to make a living online. This is also a scenario that requires productivity, since these folks – of which I am one – need to work in order to get paid. There are no sick days to use up, no scheduled vacation days, and no benefits to speak of, unless you count the freedom to create your own schedule as a benefit. Working from home is here to stay, and it can be argued that the success of it all really depends on the work ethic of each individual.
Written by John Watson of theinkedwriter.