Working From Home: It's Great for You and For Business

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I watch a lot of TEDTalks and recently came across this delightful one, "Go Ahead, Tell Your Boss You Are Working From Home" by Nicholas Bloom, a William Eberle Professor of Economics at Stanford University.

Bloom talks about how working from home gets a bad rap due in no small part to hilarious Google image search returns of people working from home in their underwear and pop songs that suggest a different kind of 'work from home' altogether.

I've been working from home for 16 years now and I'm committed. I can't imagine working any other way. No commute. No overheads. I can prep dinner in my lunch break and every day is bring your pet to work day!

When I started out, working from home (or 'telecommuting' as it's officially known) was less common but on the rise.  In the US telecommuting increased by 35% in the decade from 2000 - 2010.

It's not just the self-employed like me shunning big office life for the home office or dining room table either. (Shout out to my fellow small business owners celebrating Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Day on June 27!) In 2010 studies revealed that almost 60 per cent of people working from home were employees.

These days some of the most productive people I know - consultants, journalists, professionals and business owners - all work from home. And they get just as much work done as their office worker counterparts. In fact experts suggest that remote-based work is far from fulfilling its potential in terms of benefits for people and productivity. There is so much more than we can do. 

The business case for home-based work

If you're considering working from home - or you're an employer wondering whether teleworking will work for your team, here's some insightful data.

A company from Singapore conducted a two year study in which half of the staff worked from home for four days a week while the other half came into the office five days a week. The results showed an overall increase in productivity equivalent to approximately one workday. It also revealed that work from home employees tend to stay in their jobs longer and they're happier.

And this from a 2017 report courtesy of Fundera:

  • Two-thirds of managers report that employees who work from home increase their overall productivity.

  • Employers who were offered a work from home option had employee turnover rates fall by over 50%.

  • 68% of millennial job seekers said a work from home option would greatly influence their interest in working for a company.

  • 82% of telecommuters reported lower stress levels.

  • Full-time telecommuters save more than $4,000 each year by spending less on a variety of costs: commuting (gas, public transit passes, tolls, parking, car upkeep, and so on), food (buying coffee and lunches out of the office), tax breaks, and professional clothing upkeep.

The history of the way we work is fascinating and the nature of work is changing all the time. The telecommuting workforce is slowly being recognised as a viable work option for organisations large, small and micro and I'm intrigued to see what happens next!

In the meantime, you'll find me at home.

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