July 19, 2011
Wouldn't we all love to work from home? A recent survey from Staples Advantage provides some solid data that may help you convince your boss to let you build your own home office.
As reported in a press release, Staples Advantage, the business-to-business division of Staples, Inc., surveyed more than 140 telecommuters--defined as those who work at least one day per week from home--at companies of various sizes and industries, asking them about their overall experiences working from home. Responses showed that telecommuters were happier and more productive when working outside the office.
When asked about productivity, 86 percent of respondents said they were more productive at home. Telecommuters also reported being happier and healthier, saying that their stress levels decreased 25 percent on average. Furthermore, 73 percent said they started eating healthier since working from home.
However, the benefits do not end there. Seventy six percent of telecommuters said that eliminating the trek to the office increased their company loyalty and made them more willing to put in extra time, while 80 percent said working from home allowed them to maintain a better work-life balance.
Although Staples Advantage did not explore the reasons behind the increased happiness, GigaOm reported that a paper published last year in the Journal of Applied Communication Research found some explanations that were not surprising: spending less than 50 percent of the week in the office allows for greater flexibility and work-life balance as well as fewer meetings and interruptions, which lowers stress.
Some of the findings, however, go against the notion of teamwork that most companies strive for. Researchers found that people actually like their co-workers more when they see them less. Also, being away from the office decreases one's exposure to office politics, which increases job satisfaction.
According to the press release, telecommuters value working from home so much that they would make sacrifices to keep the benefit. Fifty four percent said they would give up their favorite TV show; 48 percent would forgo an extra hour of sleep and 40 percent would give up their favorite food or take a pay cut.
The New York Times, however, pointed out that some telecommuters feel isolated and miss the separation between home and office, or work and personal life. For these workers, the concept of "co-working" may be the solution. Co-working spaces, such as Indy Hall in Philadelphia and Hive at 55 in Lower Manhattan, are shared office spaces where workers work together, regardless of what company they work for or what positions they hold. The space gives workers the advantages office collaboration whenever they need it, whether it is just one day, a few days in the week or on a monthly basis.
Compiled by CityTownInfo.com Staff
"There's No Place Like a Home Office: Staples Survey Shows Telecommuters are Happier and Healthier, With 25% Less Stress When Working from Home," businesswire.com, July 19, 2011
"Why are web workers happier?" gigaom.com, July 18, 2011, Jessica Stillman
"Working Separately, Together," NYTimes.com, July 16, 2011, Phyllis Korkki