How Telecommuting Actually Increases Productivity
Thanks to the Internet and the fact that most jobs these days are done on computers, telecommuting (aka working from home) is starting to become more commonplace. Census data indicates that roughly 17% of the U.S. workforce now works from home. Generally, some amount of time at the office is still required, usually at least a few days a week. It’s very rare that you wouldn’t have to show up to the office at all. There have been studies done by Penn State and (more recently) Stanford University that indicate that telecommuting may actually offer several benefits over the traditional work environment, increased productivity being chief among them.
More Time at Work: Suppose your morning routine showering, getting dressed, eating, and commuting to work takes you an hour (we’re being generous, it usually takes more). As a telecommuter, you could have spent a good chunk of that hour already working! Telecommuters often also log work hours while sick or on vacation.
Fewer Distractions: Additionally, any parent can tell you if their child is sick, they’re either spending half the day worrying about them at work or taking off completely to nurse their child. Telecommuters can monitor their child while still putting in the hours.
Higher Satisfaction: By having flexible work hours, telecommuters really only have to worry about deadlines. That means if you’re not a morning person, you don’t have to spend the first few hours of your day slumping around the office; work at noon or at midnight, just get the work in on time. This leads to greater satisfaction, especially because you can also balance your home life better. Daughter’s recital coming up? No problem!
A Note on Socializing: Telecommuting boosts productivity by cutting out time you’d have spent chatting with co-workers, but some people in the Stanford study actually opted out of telecommuting because they missed the interaction. This is a double-edged sword, and falls to your personal preferences and priorities.