Imagine this: It’s a chilly Monday morning, and you wake up early enough just in time to start your workload for the day. But, instead of being in the hassle of transporting yourself to work through non-stop traffic, you’re able to turn on your laptop with a click of a button. Without moving from the comfort of your own home, you begin working on the assignment your boss just gave you.
This trend, known as remote work (or working from home; telecommuting), is a concept that many businesses have been able to utilize successfully. Within the past decade alone, Global Workplace Analytics reported a 91% percent increase in employees working remotely in the United States. As technology continues to advance, these types of jobs are becoming much more accessible to larger numbers of people.
However, the accessibility of remote work can sometimes be undermined by the stigma surrounding it. Those who work from home are often stereotyped as being unfocused and unproductive compared to their counterparts who work in an office, but this could not be further from the truth.
According to Inc.com, a study led by Stanford professor, Nicholas Bloom, was conducted in order to find out the real effects of working remotely. He split 500 employees into two groups: people working in offices versus those working from home. To Bloom’s surprise, the research showed a, “productivity boost among the telecommuters equivalent to a full day’s work.”
His results also show that those working remotely are more focused and less likely to lay out of work. This study was a huge win for telecommuters because it challenged the stereotypes and provided evidence for those skeptical of remote-workers’ productivity.
The plus side to working from home does not stop there. Deciding to remain separated from the traditional office setting has both immediate and long-term benefits.
Due to the lack of commuting, telecommuters not only save money, but also save time for their work. The flexibility provided by working from home is also a plus, as it lends to more free time for people to pursue their personal endeavors or errands that an office job would not allow. This results in a comfortable and less stressful work environment.
Of course, like any job, there is a downside to working remotely. Unlike an office job, there is not much of a community and little-to-no face-to-face interaction when telecommuting. While there are opportunities to work with other people, and even opportunities to work globally, a lot of the work is done alone, especially if the employee shows no immediate desire to connect with others. The absence of human connection can lead to extreme cases of loneliness in the future.
According to The Guardian, academic Frances Holliss interviewed remote-workers and found that the interviewees mental and physical health sometimes suffered due to isolation and their self-discipline was hard to keep in check (such as over-eating, exercise, etc). It is of no surprise that even working from home requires dedication and hard work that can be overcome through communication and time-management.
While working from home is often stigmatized, it has proven to be a successful career choice for many. There are ups and downs to both telecommuting and office jobs, but it all boils down to whether you’re happy and taking care of yourself in the process. If you’re thinking of working from home, go for it. Just remember that, depending on the person, there may be hurdles you must conquer to prosper.
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