Yvette Pistorio

The Work from Home Debate: Myths and Facts

By: Yvette Pistorio | April 17, 2013 | 

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.

  • Andrew Odom

    I prefer telecommuting. I have been a telecommuter with my company now for approaching 4 years. I travel every 7-8 week for 3-4 days in addition to my daily workload. I find it more conducive to productive work to work from “home” as well as more rewarding because I can work creatively when I am most inspired. I understand the merits and the downfalls to working remote but I also see the benefits to a company having some positions work outside of the office. I would never get anything done if I took as many breaks as some of my “in office” counterparts.

  • Thanks Yvette! I am actually more productive at home, and I also believe I end up spending more time on work, because I work when I feel inspired rather than just clock punching. I do like coming to the office for the vibe and connecting with colleagues, but I believe I am most productive when I am trusted to be flexible and professional. Now sometimes in the evenings I “turn off” my urge to work and “save it” for office hours…how silly is that?!?

    • RebeccaTodd That’s not silly at all!! I close the door to my office and try to only work from there. It gets me in “work” mode…it’s all a mental trick I play on myself and it really helps. If you don’t turn it off, you’ll never stop!

      • yvettepistorio RebeccaTodd That is true, too! With my former role, I worked from home and broke up my days with yoga and dog walks and customer meetings. I would not feel badly grabbing groceries or cooking and doing laundry while I worked. I doubt I ever put in less than 10 hours a day, and usually signed on to email around 6 am and off around 11 pm. But as I carved out time for yoga and dogs and fresh air, it didn’t feel quite so draining. Here in my office 7.5 hours a day, I certainly have productive times and other times…not so much. Would probably be better for my body, brain, and business to be able to mix up my activities.

        • belllindsay

          RebeccaTodd yvettepistorio I bet working from home you clock a *solid* 9 or 10 hours, while being at the office you’re lucky to clock 5. Think about it: Like you I start at 6 am. Office job? Get in at 9 am. Open computer, check emails, yak to pals, lucky to even start work before 9:30. Coffee breaks at home? None. It’s right in my kitchen. No walking to Starbucks. Lunch? No leaving for that either. Eat at the table with computer. Chit chat with colleagues wasting a half hour here and there? Nope. It’s very limited to the odd Skype chat or messaging. Pop to the shops for a quick look around because they’re so handy to your office? Not when you work from home. At most I walk the dog. It’s out of this world how much time is wasted by the average office worker (and yes, I’ve been one and done that). Working from home is not a walk in the park. But it’s an incredible blessing to have the flexibility when needed, to not have to waste hours commuting, and I love every minute of it.

        • belllindsay RebeccaTodd yvettepistorioGreat points Linds! While I am less likely to work a consecutive 9-10 hours, that is a much more typical day for me. And you are very right- my attention span maxes out if I am staying in one place too long. While I do have my power days in the office, I would HOPE that I log 5 focused hours of work a day here. At home, I take time for interruptions and activities, but don’t log those as work hours (did that make sense?) and instead work around the interruptions rather than including them in to my hour count.

        • belllindsay

          yvettepistorio RebeccaTodd Yup that’s exactly what I mean Rebecca, I may not be sitting straight for ten hours at home – but I’m starting at 6am and ending at 8pm some days, depending on emails or issues that arise. And I love it – that’s the thing – when I would “leave the office” my work was OVER!! Now, when I’m working from home I don’t feel that same separation – and I’m happy to be puttering around with work at nights and weekends too.

        • adammbsmith

          belllindsay RebeccaTodd  So very true! I got hardly anything done yesterday because I had to… TALK to people!
          But I can see why big companies are against people working remotely, because (based on my experience) in big companies most in-office employers can’t be trusted to be productive, let alone be productive from home.

        • adammbsmith belllindsay RebeccaTodd Ahh…the old chicken/egg dilemma (even though I know the egg is clearly first.) Are people not trustworthy to work because they really aren’t trustworthy, or because they aren’t trust-ED to do the work? Ooo I’m getting all meta! Split between the notion of professional vs clerical work?

  • CommProSuzi

    Hear! Hear!
    I, too, find that working from home is beneficial to me and to my employer. In addition to being less stressed from commuting, I am able to put myself in the mindset of the consumer. Will the messages resonate with the consumer? Does the benefit cited by the company really matter to the homeowner?
    I can’t agree more that technology makes having a physical office space less attractive. Imagine being able to put lease payments, parking fees, etc to the bottom line! If your company really needs an office space, a receptionist, a meeting room, there are executive suites that provide all those services for a fraction of the cost, typically with a prestigious address.
    Good job, Y!

    • CommProSuzi Thank you 🙂 I love working from home and my team and all of the tools available makes it easy to collaborate.

  • Suze Carragher


  • eveypistorio

    RebeccaAmyTodd Thank youuuuuuuuuu!!

  • yvettepistorio I’m right there with you! I worked remotely for a year and it was the best thing I ever did. I did work more hours, I was much more productive cause I wasn’t always getting interrupted by co-workers and I had a much better work/life balance.
    Thanks for this cause I was just debating this with my boss an hour ago!

    • jennimacdonald yvettepistorio Haha!! Show him the slides from MarketingProfs 🙂

  • AND we can Skype silly jokes on an as-needed basis! 😉

  • Desmond Jordon

    I’d settle for working here at the office, yet dressing like I’m telecommuting.

  • SpinSucks

    tim_baran Thanks for sharing Tim!

  • SpinSucks

    jennimacdonald dandrmar 😀 Thanks for sharing Jennifer!

    • jennimacdonald

      SpinSucks: Thanks for writing!!! Have a good day!

      • SpinSucks

        jennimacdonald Thanks you too 🙂

  • eveypistorio

    missyhackthomas Thanks for sharing Melissa 🙂

  • 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.

    • 3HatsComm You’re right, it won’t die. I think some of those myths are so ridiculous!

  • SpinSucks

    360connext Thanks for sharing Jeannie! Which do you prefer?

    • 360connext

      SpinSucks Working from home with the occasional IRL meetings!

      • SpinSucks

        360connext That’s how we work at Arment Dietrich…it’s great 🙂

  • 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:

  • 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 😉

    • belllindsay

      Kato42 East Coast!! YEAH!! Where did you move to Kat? I’m from Moncton originally. Entire family still there. 🙂

      • 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

          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. 😉

  • DavidHoggatt

    JeffSheehan eveypistorio SpinSucks http://t.co/HSMNysbmTk

  • eveypistorio

    SamHosenkamp Ha!! Thanks Sam 🙂

  • eveypistorio

    SweetSaraTweets Thanks for sharing Sara 🙂

    • SweetSaraTweets

      eveypistorio You’re welcome!

  • eveypistorio

    millionbaker I love it 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  • eveypistorio

    spacecadet0512 Thanks Paula!!

    • 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!

      • eveypistorio

        spacecadet0512 I thoroughly enjoy it. Maybe someone will forward to upper mgt?!

  • eveypistorio

    snow1081 Thanks for the share Yuliana 🙂

  • SpinSucks

    JeffSheehan Thanks for sharing Jeff 🙂

    • 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.

      • SpinSucks

        JeffSheehan 😀 She’s a great lady. (cc: ginidietrich )

  • eveypistorio

    MediaLabRat Thanks so much Robert!!

    • MediaLabRat

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

      • eveypistorio

        MediaLabRat I prefer working from home, but there’s some days I do miss the office.

        • MediaLabRat

          I love the energy of our office, but I am much more productive at home, shhhhh 🙂 eveypistorio

        • eveypistorio

          MediaLabRat Your secret is safe with me 😉

  • eveypistorio

    merylkevans thanks so much Meryl 🙂

    • merylkevans

      eveypistorio I’m busier and work more since trading corporate job for home office.

  • SpinSucks

    R_Steinbach Me too…it’s the perfect time to have a date night or girls/guys night 🙂

  • 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.

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

  • eveypistorio

    isitacordero Thanks for sharing Isabel!!

    • isitacordero

      eveypistorio Thanks to you, Yvette!! Happy weekend!! 😉

      • eveypistorio

        isitacordero Happy weekend to you too!

  • eveypistorio

    AcquireB2B Virtual works for our team too 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  • 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.

  • 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).

  • researchplusltd

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

  • elwirakotowska

    DanielKson det finns inga självklara svar. Lite variation är nog bra att ha:).

    • DanielKson

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

      • elwirakotowska

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

      • DanielKson

        elwirakotowska Ja då är det ju trevligare att finnas på plats!

  • SpinSucks

    eventbrite Would love to hear what others thing…thanks for sharing 🙂

    • eventbrite What others think! Oy, time for another cup of coffee!

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