20
58
Yvette Pistorio

The Work from Home Debate: Myths and Facts

By: Yvette Pistorio | April 17, 2013 | 
68

The Work from Home Debate- Myths and FactsOur fearless leader, Gini Dietrich, has talked at length about how our virtual office works, so I won’t rehash the details.

Suffice it to say, I think my team does a great job of collaborating and holding each other accountable for our goals.

However, there’s been a lot of discussion lately about certain companies requiring employees to physically work from the office.

It seems Best Buy and Yahoo! have made up their minds about working from home.

Corporate objectives aside, there are benefits to telecommuting that go beyond being able to work from home in your pyjamas.

Humor Me

Fast Company recently shared a new infographic from CarInsurance.org, which showed from 2005 to 2012, the U.S. workforce grew three percent and regular telecommuters grew 66 percent.

A few statistics stood out:

  • The greenhouse gas reduction due to U.S. telecommuting equals the equivalent of the entire New York state workforce if they had the option to work from home.
  • Employees save nearly 109 hours per year of commute time.
  • Eight in 10 employees who telecommute part-time feel they have a good work-life balance, and three in four say they eat healthier.
  • Productivity increases an average of 10 to 20 percent when employees telecommute.

The Work from Home Debate: Myth vs. Fact

I came across this slideshow on Danny Brown’s blog and loved it. As part of the MarketingProfs educational content series, writer and illustrator Veronica Maria Jarski, created a SlideShare in response to the recent announcement from Yahoo! that remote working would not be allowed.

Myth: Employees spend all their time on the Internet, texting friends, or on social media networks.

FACT:  People in an office setting also spend time on the same things. I think I actually spent more time doing those things in an office setting than I do now. Hopefully my old boss isn’t reading this.

Myth: Employees will go rogue if they don’t work side-by-side.

FACT: This really makes me laugh because I can think of a few instances where employees went rogue on social media while they were IN THE OFFICE! It can happen anywhere.

Myth: Employees who work from home are harder to reach than on-location workers.

FACT: There are these things called smartphones, tablets, and laptops. Employees can be available at all times (we are!).

Myth: Telecommuters can’t communicate with others in the company.

FACT: Hasn’t anyone heard of a phone, social media, Skype, Google Hangout, or other ‘virtual meeting’ technology? We live in a digital age so start embracing it already.

Myth: Virtual employees can’t participate in brainstorms because some of the best decisions or ideas come from the cafeteria.

FACT: Brainstorming can happen anywhere. See above fact.

Myth: They work fewer hours.

FACT: I was literally rolling on the floor laughing at this one. Because employees who work from home don’t have a hard stop time, and they don’t waste hours commuting, they usually end up working longer hours.

Myth: It’s like a vacation when you work from home.

FACT: When I’m not watching TV, eating bon-bons, and getting my nails done – anyhow, you get the point. It’s NOT a vacation working from home. If anything, at times it’s more stressful! ‘At home life’ (kids, emergencies, repairmen, etc.)  tends to fall on your lap, because you happen to be there. Also, I’m pretty sure my team would notice if projects weren’t complete.

I love working from home. I eat healthier, I get to spend more time with my family, and I don’t have to dress up every day, but I still get face-to-face time with everyone on my team.

For me, it’s the best of both worlds.

Thanks to Kluger Kaplan for the image. 

About Yvette Pistorio


Yvette Pistorio is the shared media manager for Arment Dietrich. She is a lover of pop culture, cupcakes, and HGTV, and enjoys a good laugh. There are a gazillion ways you can find her online.

67 comments
researchplusltd
researchplusltd

@eventbrite interesting debate. I think if someone accuses 'at home' workers of slacking, it says more about themselves than anything else.

Daniel Nuccio1
Daniel Nuccio1

I divide my time between Chicago where my clients are and another city in Illinois where my graduate school is, so I really do need to telecommute sometimes.  I have been working as a freelance e-marketing consultant for the past four years, and it really does surprise me that when looking for new clients, one of the biggest roadblocks I face is having to explain that I'm more than capable of managing an e-blast or Twitter update from my laptop as opposed to an office. Seriously though, I think part of the issue is that older generations really do prefer (and sometimes justifiably) walking down the hall to speak to someone as opposed to calling or emailing someone who might not respond for hours or days (which is a bit long given that we do have cell phones and email).

dbvickery
dbvickery

Been working from home since 1998. It can be more stressful because your personal/professional time goes gray. My wife wanted me to literally leave the house, and then walk back in to put me in the mindframe of "coming home from work, now it's time for family". I never could really do it - especially when we started our own company in 2000, and it took a lot of hours to keep the plates spinning.

Of course, I've worked a lot of evenings and weekends...but I've also witnessed all of my two daughters' major milestones and heard their "daily accounts" firsthand. I also have morning/afternoon coffee with my wife...and get a headstart on sharing a glass of wine even if I do "occasionally" get back online to do a little more work.

I would not trade it for the world.

JoeCardillo
JoeCardillo

I'd venture to say that most of these myths are circulated by people who haven't actually worked at home themselves.

PattiRoseKnight
PattiRoseKnight

Let me say that the "it's like a vacation when you work from home" - that is the most untrue one of all.  It couldn't be farther from the truth.

Kato42
Kato42

I recently moved to the East Coast (Canada) to be closer to family, and boy do I wish more employers would read your article and understand how productive telecommuting can be--the job market here is horrendous, so I find myself actively looking for a telecommuting opportunity. After working in communication for almost 15 years, sometimes in an office and sometimes from home, I have found very little that requires physical presence in an office. Like Rob, I find that I need to remove myself from the office to do anything creative. I also find that eliminating two hours of commuting from my day does wonders for my stress levels and, as a result, my productivity. It doesn't hurt that I've got a beautiful water view from my home, either ;)

RobBiesenbach
RobBiesenbach

A couple of years ago I came across this great article about "makers" versus "managers." Makers are writers, programmers and others who need long, uninterrupted blocks of time to do creative work. It can't be squeezed in -- an hour here, an hour there -- between meetings and conference calls and brainstorms. (Not if the work product is going to be any good anyway.)

I work at home now because I work for myself, but when I was with an agency, in order to get serious writing done I would have to do it from home or I'd get up super-early and go into the office at 5 am to get a few hours of undistracted time. It was crazy. Now that I can control my schedule and minimize distractions a little better, I am much more productive.

I would think a lot of people in PR, marketing and communications would fall under the "maker" category, and would do better at home. Here is the article:

http://www.paulgraham.com/makersschedule.html


3HatsComm
3HatsComm

Wrote very much the same on my own blog not too long ago - and IIRC it was Lisa Gerber who told me a story about a guy who - from the office - outsourced his job overseas, so he could slack all day. Heh. :) Sigh - offices aren't going anywhere and plenty of companies have to work this way and work better b/c of it. But that doesn't mean The Office is the only way to go. 

This debate won't die Yvette, so it's important to get it right. The reality is that most of these 'objections' are toothless; they can and DO happen just as easily in the office setting. The real thing is the benefits - to the environment, and mostly to the employees and employers - the long-term returns of flexible working arrangements are genuine, measurable, tangible and real. FWIW.

DanielKson
DanielKson

@elwirakotowska Precis. En lagom blandning är bäst. Utan kontorsjobb ibland skulle jag ju inte få min motionstur med cykel tex. :D

MediaLabRat
MediaLabRat

No problemo! It is a big issue in every company now, I am a little divided on it myself :/ @eveypistorio

JeffSheehan
JeffSheehan

@SpinSucks Gini, YVW. I admire your work and tenacity. I also have your book and it was well done. 1 of these days I'll write about it.

spacecadet0512
spacecadet0512

@eveypistorio Welcome! I'm fortunate to work one day a week from home, but my boss had to fight for that. Wish upper mgt would read ur post!

belllindsay
belllindsay

@Kato42 East Coast!! YEAH!! Where did you move to Kat? I'm from Moncton originally. Entire family still there. :) 

elwirakotowska
elwirakotowska

@DanielKson och julbord (varför tänkte jag på det denna vackra vårdagen??) an också kännas rätt så ensamt:)

Kato42
Kato42

Wow - small world - we're in Saint John! Beautiful here, and close to my husband's family, but not much communication work. I'm from NS, though, so Halifax remains a possibility. :) So nice to be back by the ocean (we were in Calgary).

belllindsay
belllindsay

@Kato42 Oh yeah, I miss the ocean terribly. Lakes/schmakes! I lived in Halifax for a year before coming to Toronto. So many great memories and crazy nights spent at The Seahorse. ;) 

Trackbacks

  1. [...] More organizations are allowing some in-office and some from home work days during each week. And, of course, there was the big hub-bub when Yahoo! announced they were requiring everyone to be in the office at all times. [...]