November 20, 2012
We’ve talked before about the pros and cons of the growing telecommuting trend. But what happens when you’re suddenly a full-time telecommuter, not by choice, but by circumstance? We chatted with several office goers in the New York City metro area (including a few of our own from Herman Miller) who found themselves having to work from home after Hurricane Sandy struck the region. Now that their routines are getting somewhat back to “normal,” we asked them what they learned — and found that their combined experiences offer a few gentle reminders on how you can try to find the balance you need to successfully work from a home office (in less extreme situations, we certainly hope!). Read more
June 21, 2012
“At Work,” a blog from the Wall Street Journal, just reported on a new study by The Conference Board research group about the rise in telecommuting. “The number of employees who work remotely has jumped significantly over the last decade, nearly doubling among all full-time, non-self-employed U.S. workers,” it states. Moreover, 84% of people who worked remotely, either from home or another location, did so at least once a week. That’s up from 72% in 2008.
Along with these growing stats, the research offers a few of the pros that result from working out of a home office, such as increased focus, which can lead to better productivity. Cons, of course, included feeling out of the loop and burned out because of the fuzzy line between “home” and “work.”
Are you part of this growing trend? What are the positives? The negatives? Let us know in the comment section, then take a look at a few thoughts from some telecommuters (and some in-the-know self-employed workers) we’ve featured here on Lifework. Read more
Balance, Design, Products, Technology
March 29, 2010
The editorial team at business magazine Inc. had published thousands of articles on the pros and cons of working from home. But what was it really like? They found out this year when the office produced an entire issue from home. Read senior writer Max Chafkin‘s report here. It’s a fascinating look at the virtual office and the reality of telecommuting. There’s also an interesting interview with the magazine’s editor, Jane Berentson on APR’s Marketplace .
Berentson says of the experience: ”Well, it was different for different people. So I think there were some people who were a bit skeptical before we started it and thought, “No no no. We really have to come into an office. The magazine’s a collaborative venture.” But one of those people, for instance, decided that why do we ever have to come to the office again, because he could get out of his bed; roll 20 feet to his desk, still in his pajamas; save $300 a month on commuting and thought it was great. There were other people — I, personally, for instance — missed the social and collaborative aspect of coming to an office.”
(Photo: Philip Toledano)
January 22, 2010
Job satisfaction among workers is at its lowest point in 22 years—just 45% of Americans are satisfied with their work, down from 61% in 1987, when the Conference Board conducted its first survey. Workers are dispirited by having fewer raises, more financial responsibility for their healthcare, and uninteresting work. Only 51% find their jobs interesting today, compared to 70% in 1987.
While there’s no research on what’s happened to worker satisfaction among telecommuters lately, they’re likely less satisfied, too, since they are subject to the same business realities. People who work from home probably still have more job satisfaction than their office-bound counterparts, however; they can comfort themselves with “at least I get to work from home.”
But not everyone who can telecommute should do so all the time. Research from the University of Connecticut shows that while a worker’s job satisfaction initially increases, satisfaction “tapers off at higher levels of telecommuting.” Worker autonomy is a factor, too. The researchers found that “if you regularly depend upon others to do your job or have limited job discretion, extensive telecommuting could put your sense of job satisfaction at serious risk.”
January 11, 2010
Virginia Heffernan has a great column in the New York Times Magazine called The Medium where she explores Internet culture. Her latest column struck a chord as it looks at working from home, particularly from a woman’s point of view. She sings the praises of telecommuting – ”this time in a feminist key.” She argues that women have benefitted even more than men from telecommuting as it enables them to more easily juggle their workloads. We’d love you to weigh in on this argument. Let me know what you think. You can email me directly at email@example.com.