Remote Working Comes of Age

Last week I spotted quite a few of those “if you work from home you are more productive” articles.

The Working From Home? You’re a Better Worker one in Wired mentioned a recent study by Stanford university looking at Ctrip, a travel agency in Shanghai, China with 13,000 employees. They set 255 employees up to work from home as part of a 9-month study. They found a 12 % increase in productivity (8.5 % from from working more hours (due to shorter breaks and fewer sick days) and 3.5 % from more performance per minute), 50% decrease in attrition and higher work-satisfaction.

The Step Into the Office-Less Company one in the Wall Street Journal looks at a couple of different companies including Web-services supplier Automattic Inc. Automattic claims that their remote workers are more productive because they have no commutes and fewer interruptions.

I could quote a whole load more articles with a similar theme and I have done over the years. What’s interesting to me is how the comments on these type of articles are changing.

I used to see a lot of responses along the lines of “Yeah, whatever, people who work from home just watch telly and eat cake..“. OK maybe not so extreme but many had a Boris attitude to it all (remember his famous home-working is a ‘skiver’s paradise’ only a few months back). Now I’m increasingly seeing comments that are based on experience and are more level-headed:

I’m an intelligence/engineering professional who has worked from home for 2 years now. It works better for some people, myself included, but for some of my colleagues it has been a major challenge. By zstickybuns

I work full time from home and get much, much more accomplished than my in-office counterparts. I can give a task my complete focus without as much interruption. I also rarely ever need to use sick time. Heck, I’m at home and will feel just as crummy on the couch as I would at my computer. So I can pull on a robe, drag a tissue box to my desk in my home office and keep plugging along. Working from home is truly not for everyone. Many people do cite the need for more human interaction and social life of the office. Me? I’m a hermit until the end of my work day. Then I go out and have a life, instead of my working being my life. By Joann Filomena

When I worked from home, I didn’t experience any decline in productivity. Just the opposite, in fact. I was afraid of slacking, so I overcompensated and ended up working nonstop. That’s when I decided I needed to go to the office. For me home needs to be a place to unwind not perform. By Katherine Tattersfield

So what is my point here? My point is that we are starting to get a much more rounded view of remote working – the challenges and the benefits. People are starting to be a lot more adult about it all and realise that for some people and some companies it is a perfect scenario, while for others it’s just not. It’s not ground breaking, but it is reassuring. Remote working has come of age.

So to end with my favourite comment/conversation on the Wired article.

So private-sector office workers are lazy too. Well that’s a relief I thought us public-sector remote workers were the only ones! 😉


3 thoughts on “Remote Working Comes of Age

  1. Pingback: Are workers who can and do work anywhere (including home) more engaged? « Business Technology Partner

  2. Remote working is very useful when you have young children. Being able to work around feeds and sleep patterns is simply not possible when working for a company or a 9-5. Being a virtual assistant allows you to work 6am-7am 12pm-2pm or any time the kids are not making a noise.

  3. Pingback: Are workers who can and do work anywhere (including home) more engaged? | Center for Digital Business Transformation

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