The Flap Over Telecommuting
I’ll admit it. Sometimes I work in my pajamas and favorite bathrobe.
It’s just one of the many perks of working from the comfort of my own home. For 90 percent of my day, no one sees me except my family and my cats, and they don’t seem any more impressed by me wearing a three-piece suit than by me wearing my favorite jammies and fuzzy slippers as I labor away in front of
The nearly 12,000 Yahoo employees who were permitted to telecommute probably worked a few of their daily hours in clothing that would not be suitable for the regular office. For them, the announcement from CEO
Marissa Mayer last week that they no longer would be permitted to work from home most likely caused a bit of a panic. Not only would last-minute childcare arrangements be necessary for some, but the purchase of more appropriate office attire surely would be necessary as well.
Bathrobe jokes aside, working from home is not for everyone. It takes a lot of dedication, organization and focus to be able to work without becoming distracted by the things around you. While working in a traditional office setting can be distracting, it is a different kind of distraction: the noisy coworker talking too loudly on the phone, the sound of phones ringing off the hook or even the boss who constantly interrupts with new tasks that need to be assigned.
Distractions in the home office are a whole different ballgame. Looking around at the piles of dirty laundry that need washing could be enough to distract a worker from being able to focus on the task at hand. Bored friends and family who stop by to visit – because they don’t think you really work from home – can be another distraction that is hard to overcome. The list is endless.
But not everyone will be distracted in a telecommuting or home office situation. For some, it is the ideal way to work, increasing productivity that would not be realized in a traditional office setting. The Yahoo flap reignited the raging debate about whether employees are more productive when they work in the office or by telecommuting from the location of their choice.
For me, personally, I am more productive when I am in the quiet of my home office. Laundry could be piled all around me and it wouldn’t break my concentration. When I worked in a newsroom, I found it incredibly hard to focus on the task at hand. I find I am able to produce more content at home in a fraction of the time it took in a traditional office setting.
I also find I have more hours to put toward actual work when I eliminate the commute to and from a traditional office each day. The average worker spends over an hour in their vehicle each day, driving to and from work. By telecommuting, that time could be better spent on an actual project than sitting in traffic on the parkway.
However, there’s more to consider than just the productivity factor. Some people thrive on interaction with others and, consequently, would find telecommuting to be a lonely situation. Some workers enjoy bouncing ideas off of fellow coworkers before tackling an assignment. It’s a little hard to do those things when you’re a telecommuter.
In the end, whether a person works from home or in a traditional office setting depends largely on their job and the philosophy of the company boss. While it is true that 2.5 percent of the workforce currently is classified as telecommuters, there are many companies that still frown upon the practice.
Shari L. Berg is the owner/operator of The Write Reflection, and a writing professional for 25 years.