Don't Worry, Be Happy Working from Home
Like it or not, people who work from home are just happier. And, to rub it in, studies show not only are they more content, they're also more productive than those who work onsite at 9 to 5 jobs. They're even more optimistic about their financial futures. Can you believe that? Who in this economic climate has the right to be so darn enthusiastic?
Well, apparently there are many different reasons for such vigor but it seems the mantra that management gurus have been touting for years has finally been proven: knowing the boss is watching and/or feeling tethered to one's desk has quite the opposite effect of increasing productivity. On top of this, interaction with coworkers is often more of a distraction in one form or another and can sometimes even undermine a worker's self-confidence. This further creates obstacles to drumming up that feeling of joy when clocking in each day.
The final nail in the coffin? Those who work from home simply have a better balance between their work and home life. In another study, employees of mainstream jobs worked approximately 38 hours before experiencing conflict between work and home. For those with home-based careers, the number was approximately 58 hours.
The fact that they're missing out on gossip sessions around the water cooler (not to mention backstabbing, office politics and lunch-stealing in the break room) didn't seem to terribly upset work from home employees. In reality, there was an increase in productivity of anywhere from 20-30% in most cases thanks to the distraction-free environment. Without endless meetings and reviews to get in the way, work from home employees were much better able to focus on their duties and get them done- many times ahead of schedule.
Despite all these fun facts, only 2% of the American workforce works from home on a regular basis. In other countries where telecommuting is more common, the numbers double, if not triple. Of course, numbers in the US are likely to increase over time as technology (and our dependence thereof) continues to evolve.