Should we all be working from home?
I am an avid listener of TED talks. They are always interesting and aspiring full of information and insights into people around the world. Most recently Stanford Professor of Economics Nicholas Bloom spoke about the benefits of working from home and I was surprised to hear what he had to say. In his TED Talk, Bloom explains that work-from-home is potentially as powerful and innovative as the driverless car.
As evidence, Bloom cites a Singapore company where half of the staff worked from home for four days a week while the other half came into the office five days a week.
The two-year study revealed that the employees who worked from home had a "massive, massive" (Bloom's words) increase in productivity--almost equivalent to an additional workday--primarily because of fewer distractions and fewer pointless conversations.
The work-from-home employees also tended to remain in their jobs longer, thereby decreasing employee turnover, which (of course) drains management productivity and results in an expensive loss of skills and connections when an employee quits.
Finally, the work-from-home employees were happier and therefore healthier, thereby reducing sick days and absenteeism (as well as people coming into work with contagious colds and flu), all of which decreased the company's overall health care expenses.
The experiment was so successful that the company instituted work-from-home throughout the company, which also (as a side benefit) allowed the company to grow without adding expensive office space.
So if you are thinking of negotiating a few work from home days then you are definitely on the right track.
Personally I think working from home has its advantages and disadvantages. It’s definitely easier to get more done from home as you are less distracted by fellow employees etc. however it can sometimes be a little isolating and you need to be disciplined in your approach to how you work.
Do you work from home? Tell us what you think?