Does Working from Home Work?

Does Working from Home Work?

Taryn Williford
Dec 8, 2014

Vana Chupp of Le Papier Studio

It's your fortress. Your sanctuary. Your happy place. Being at home is the greatest feeling in the world. But it is the best place to work? While telecommuting is on the rise across the globe—in the United States, the proportion of employees who primarily work from home has more than tripled over the past 30 years—many people have concerns about productivity and life balance with at-home workers, spawning the fitting turn-of-phrase "shirking from home."

We're talking about something that is totally subjective, of course. An office arrangement that works for one person might wreak havoc on the lifestyle of another. There's a lot to look at when deciding whether or not to take the plunge, but here's one thing to consider...

It Probably Makes You More Productive

Stanford Economics professor, Nicholas Bloom, sought out to answer the question "Does working from home work?" with his latest study. Bloom asked 16,000 employees at a Chinese tech company, Ctrip, to volunteer to work from home for nine months. Half the volunteers were allowed to telecommute, the rest remained in the office as a control group.

The results? There was a 13% increase in employee performance from home-working. Most of the improved practice came from employees having more time to work (taking fewer breaks and sick days), and the rest from just flat out better performance (maybe home kitchens have better coffee?). Home workers in the experiment also reported higher work satisfaction and a better attitude overall. Read the full results of the study here.

It makes sense. It's not hard to imagine that employees with home offices are more likely to work while they're sick. And personally, eliminating my hour-long Atlanta rush hour commute would go a long way towards a happier day, that's for sure. But I think there's still something to be gained from keeping your work life sovereign from the sanctuary of home, even if it's just behind a closed door.

Does working at home make you more productive? Happier? Do you prefer to separate home and work life? Or does staying close to home help you with your work-life balance?

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