Work from Home?

More and more companies recognize the value of working from home.

What do you think? #2 is the big one for me.

Working from home still gets a bad rap, even though it’s grown by 41 percent over the last decade, according to a Sept. 2012 U.S. Census Bureau report. We just can’t seem to shake the image of slackers in their pajamas eating chocolates and watching movies while they pretend to work from their couch. But the truth of working from home is that, rather than bringing out your inner slacker, it can actually make you a more productive professional.

More companies are embracing working from home as a viable option, either during emergency situations like Hurricane Sandy when getting to the office isn’t an option, or on a regular basis to save on real estate and overhead costs. If you’d like to work from home, use the following stats to convince your boss that you’ll be just as, if not more, productive at home as you would be in the office.

1. Avoid distracting colleagues…

2. Control how often you’re interrupted…

3. Take less sick time and fewer personal days…

4. Studies show it just does…

Of course, how productive you are when working from home depends a lot on you, the employee. How do you work without supervision? Are you self-disciplined and good at self-management? Can you avoid temptations like television, napping, and shopping in the middle of the day? Some people prefer the office environment because it provides more structure and oversight, so before you jump into working from home, you need to first evaluate yourself.

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  • Like you Scot, number 2 is a big one. It sounds terrible that a pastor would want to avoid distractions but it helps me keep a balance in my job between the congregation and my family. Because I have less distractions or interruptions I finish my work on time rather than continually running behind. I usually stay at home to prepare sermons or study.

  • I would kill for a work at home job. I write at home, of course. It doesn’t pay anything, of course. But it does demonstrate that I’m very capable of remaining focused and productive, even with 5 kids underfoot. OTOH my husband is the worst work from home candidate I’ve ever seen. He is utterly incapable of remaining focused and inevitably ends up watching movies instead of working. I find it bizarre, really. But clearly some people aren’t cut out for working from home. I think for him the mental distinction between work and home is so sharp that he just can’t get into a working frame of mind while the bed, TV, couch and shelves full of books are just feet away.

  • Phil Miller

    I’m work in architectural design industry, so I don’t think working from home would work out for most of the work I’m involved with. Even though the majority of the work we do is really dependent on computers, it’s still tends to be pretty collaborative. We also have to meet with reps, look at products sample, do mock-ups and stuff like that. So there’s really not a very good way to do that from home. There are smaller firms where architects essentially move their offices to their homes, but that’s a bit different.

    Personally, I like driving into town in the morning, and I like having a routine away from the house. I like being able to talk with the people I work with, and, I don’t know, I probably would be pretty lazy at home. I like having my work and home life separate. Essentially, when I’m home I never thing about work.

  • MatthewS

    In my software job, we work from home one day per week. I actually work from the library – makes me feel like I have a huge corner suite.

    I like being based in the office environment but having the change of pace for that one day. If I worked from home all the time, I fear I might would take some liberties. But having that day, I can have a little more freedom to “sharpen the saw” as well as work without interruption. A day in the office filled with interruptions is lucky to result in 2 hours worth of solid work. I do like having the work-home separation. I benefit from “leaving it at the office.”

  • Phil Miller

    I have to add that I hate the term “productivity” when it comes working in an office. It’s not like you can compare a job where you’re using creativity and specialized to someone creating widgets in a factory. Personally, I don’t think it’s realistic to sit someone in front of a computer for 8 hours at a time and think that they aren’t going to go online, shop, look at Facebook, etc. I used to feel guilty about these things, but then I realized I’m still meeting all my deadlines, I’m putting out quality work, and I get everything done that’s asked of me.

    I just think we need to get beyond the idea that the amount of time actually spent working is always directly correlated to the amount of work that gets done. Of course with some tasks, it’s true, but those are what are generally very menial tasks. If you’re working a complicated spreadsheet or a complex design, it’s not necessarily the case. What is more important is being in an atmosphere where hindrances from creativity are removed.

  • Sus

    I do paralegal work and have been working from my home for the past 12 years. The original plan was to go back to the office environment once my kids were in college but I doubt I will. Where I live, I’d have to work in the city to make the same money I make now. With all the expenses of working outside the home bring, I’d bring home less. Plus, I like working for myself. I have many clients and turn down projects that I don’t want to do.

    Now, I’m not going to say that I sit in front the computer from 9-5 because that’s not true. I do stop and take care of house stuff, Facebook or whatever throughout the day. However, I start work about 5:30 am and often still working past 6 pm. I have attended conference calls in my PJs but 99% of the time I’m showered and dressed when working. It’s depressing for me to slob around all week.

    The drawback of working exclusively from home is that you have to train yourself not to work all waking hours.

  • me

    My husband works from home full-time and I work from home part-time. He said he wouldn’t like it if he were alone in the house all day. He works hard, is not distracted by coworkers, and saves lots of time and money not commuting.
    The nice thing is that he can sit in the sun for an hour or two at lunch and then work later into the evening.
    We never set the alarm clock. We start the work day anywhere from 6:30 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. It takes him two minutes to get to the “office.” He does get dressed immediately when he gets up. Me, not so much.
    It’s been very healthy for him as his blood pressure has gone way down.
    I spoil him by making him lunch most days.
    It would be very difficult for him to have to go back to the daily grind of commuting to work five days a week.
    We’re in our fifties and I think that’s the key. I doubt younger workers would like this arrangement. I’ve questioned our kids and they like going to the office.

  • me

    I need to add that it works because we both love our work.

    And, I agree with sus, you have to train yourself not to work all waking hours.

  • Pat

    I work from home generally two days a week. I do have the t.v. on while I’m working, but I certainly don’t sit and watch it and forget about working . I know some people don’t turn it on at all because of the temptation, but it’s never been a problem for me. Also, when I have down time, I can get a load of laundry done.

    One real advantage that I’m sure has already been mentioned above is the reduction in commuting. Although I don’t live far from my office, it’s nice to roll out of bed and right onto the computer versus waking up early enough to bathe, dress and drive in. Also, the savings on gas and food costs that normally would have been spent on lunch.

  • Another benefit is that you don’t show up at office stressed and mad from a horrible commute, etc. You can also plan your days easier when you don’t have to return ‘to the office’ after leaving for docotor’s appt’s, kid events, etc.

    Downside is that if you don’t have clear boundaries (space and mentally) it is easy to get sucked back in to do just one more thing.

  • Adam

    I can’t work from home. Home is where I play so I am always distracted there.