can working from home increase your productivity?

Some managers worry that telecommuting employees will be distracted and less productive, and as a result are reluctant to approve work-from-home arrangements at all or will only approve them in unusual circumstances. After all, their worry goes, can people really be as productive when they don’t have the immediate accountability of coworkers seeing how they’re spending their day, and when their home is filled with distractions like TV, pets, and the chance to get caught up on the laundry?

But new research suggests that the opposite of this fear is true: that working from home can actually increase productivity.

Stanford University economics professor Nicholas Bloom set up an experiment with one company, where some workers were allowed to work from home for nine months, while others remained in the office. At the end of the study period, the employees who worked from home were significantly more productive – as well as happier and less likely to quit.

“The results we saw … blew me away,” Bloom wrote recently in the Harvard Business Review.  The company “was thinking that it could save money on space and furniture if people worked from home and that the savings would outweigh the productivity hit it would take when employees left the discipline of the office environment. Instead, we found that people working from home completed 13.5% more calls than the staff in the office did—meaning that (the company) got almost an extra workday a week out of them. They also quit at half the rate of people in the office—way beyond what we anticipated. And predictably, at-home workers reported much higher job satisfaction.”

The research attributed one-third of the productivity increase to workers having a quieter environment with fewer distractions (like chats with coworkers or announcements of doughnuts in the kitchen). Two-thirds of increase was due to people at home working more hours. Because they didn’t have a commute, they started work earlier, worked longer, and took fewer breaks. Moreover, their sick days decreased significantly.

If you’re an employee trying to convince your company to let you work from home, at least on occasion, you might consider sharing this data with your boss. And if you’re a manager who’s not entirely comfortable letting people telecommute, this research might give you a higher comfort level with letting staff members at least experiment with occasional work-from-home days.

{ 74 comments… read them below }

  1. mskyle*

    The study is interesting, but couldn’t it also be that when things change, people get more productive for a while, regardless of what the change is like?

    That said, I work from home sometimes and I think I’m about equally productive… I mean really, nowadays with the internet there are plenty of distractions available to the average office worker. At home, at least I get distracted by productive things like emptying the dishwasher rather than cat photos. Mostly.

    1. OhNo*

      It’s certainly possible. Nine months isn’t a very long chunk of time, really. It’s short enough that working from home might still be “new” and that the workers studied never sank into complacency with their schedule.

      I find it telling that two-thirds of the increase was due to working more hours. I feel like that’s exactly what would happen to me if I ever worked from home — I’d just work for like 14 hours straight with a few short breaks throughout the day. I’d rather be forced to go into the office, if for no other reason than so I can disconnect completely when I’m at home.

      1. Meg Murry*

        Yes, 9 months isn’t actually all that long, and the novelty may wear off. I suspect that the “more” people are working comes from not having to commute, but that would probably wear off over time.
        Even with that – if the work accomplished was at least equal to what they did at the office, it sounds like its definitely worth giving people the choice, at least in a case like this where there is a measurable output.

        1. Artemesia*

          Subsequent study of the Hawthorne experiments showed that they were probably misinterpreting the data. I.e. the data was gathers on site and not by the researchers and in order to facilitate gathering it when they changed the lighting, they put counters on the machines so that the workers actually had feedback on how much they were producing. This feedback may be the ‘change’ that really worked as opposed to ‘novelty’ or ‘attention’ which is usually used to explain the changes. Or so I read.

  2. Lamington*

    if i could save more time from my commute, i would have over 2 extra hrs to do work abd catch up with laundry.

  3. Burgher*

    I worked from home for 5 months straight for another office within the company when work locally was slow. I was extremely productive and having no commute freed up a ton of time. I continued to send my child to daycare and didn’t allow myself to do work around the house when I was on the clock – with the exception of occasionally tidying up the kitchen while I cooked myself lunch (rather than standing around). It was great, although toward the end I missed the interaction of the office.

    1. Elizabeth West*

      The no-commute thing rocks. Except I get tired of working from home after a few days–remnants of being unemployed and on the couch for a year. I get stir crazy if I’m in the house too long.

      1. The Toxic Avenger*

        Yes, this. I do enjoy working from home occasionally – on my WFH days I blow through all my work stuff and my home stuff. However, I don’t want to do it all the time for the reasons you both stated.

    2. JAL*

      I’m currently working at home 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. for the next few weeks and I have to say, it’s a lot better for my natural sleep patterns. I’m a night owl and It’s nice to be able to sleep until 9:30, get up, get my coffee, and clock in by 10. 6:30 a.m. is terribly early in the morning for me.

  4. Cat*

    I do think one thing to watch out for when only part of your business is telecommuting – and when certain tasks are best done in the office – is illusory productivity increases based on measurement errors. If what you’re looking at is only a certain subset of long-term projects, the home worker might be doing fantastic on those because the in-office workers are taking on non-glamorous day-to-day tasks that detract from focus on the long-term stuff (but which still need to be done).

    That might be fine – it might make sense to bifurcate jobs so that some workers are doing long-term stuff and some workers are doing day-to-day stuff that’s best handled in person – but for measurement purposes, it’s important to compare apples to apples.

    (Also, not doing that is the best way to make non-teleworkers bitter quickly.)

    1. AndersonDarling*

      I was struck by the result that the in-office employees were twice as likely to quit. Maybe because they are unhappy that they have to be in the office while half their workforce gets to work from home. Or because, as you said, the in-office staff has to go to all the meetings and do the in-office grunt work for their at home employees.

  5. John R*

    About a month ago I left a job with a very rigid schedule and am now at a place that is focused more on results than time spent sitting at a desk. Overall, I have to agree with everything AAM says — my new boss trusts me to schedule meetings that are in lots of different locations, doesn’t keep tabs on when I come and go, and gives me access to be able to work at home (though I’ve only done it for a couple hours since I really like my work environment).

    Overall, I’d say I’m putting in MORE work than I did at my last job, not less. My boss and team are counting on me to get my job done and I don’t want to let them down–not for fear of punishment like at the last place but because we have a cool mission here and the work is important.

    Conversely, it’s really nice to know that if I have a doctor appointment in the middle of the day, or have to pick up my car at the shop, etc. I can just schedule around it and make up the time.

    I’m not saying this place is perfect–there’s politics like anywhere else–but it’s 1,000 times better than where I was before.

    1. the gold digger*

      My boss and team are counting on me to get my job done and I don’t want to let them down

      Exactly. I do not want to betray my boss’ trust. I consider it a huge benefit to be able to work from home occasionally.

      I work a lot harder from home than I do at work. When I am at work, anything I do, by definition, is happening “at work.” If I hang out and talk to a co-worker about his trip to Turkey or about how to brush a cat’s teeth, I am “at work.”

      But at home, I am very conscious of anything I do that is not work. I hold myself to a higher standard when I am at home.

    2. Jillociraptor*

      I wondered about this – how much productivity might increase just based on operating in a less structured, more trust-based environment whether that’s at home or not. One of the things I really appreciate about working at home is that if I get to 3pm and I’m totally zoned out, I can take a break, go to the gym, go pick up some groceries, or whatever I need, and no one bugs me about it. But if I’m in the office–and especially if I’m in the office with a boss who is constantly watching and micromanaging my time–I would feel really stressed in addition to the mid-afternoon energy crash and be much less productive then and later.

      I once worked two jobs, both in an office, one where there was TONS of oversight/micromanagement, and the other where I had a lot more freedom. I’d say I was more productive and happier in the one where I didn’t have to worry if my boss walked up behind me when I was on Facebook, and could just do what I felt I needed to do to get things done.

    3. JB*

      This! I work from home 2 days per week and am in the office 3 days. However, I also have flexibility to move it around for dr appts, etc. I appreciate the trust and work hard to maintain it. I could make more money elsewhere but the flexibility keeps me in my current job. I will say that I did work 100% in the office in the beginning. Over time, due to trust and the nature of my job, I have been able to part-time WFH. Technically I could WFH 100% of the time, but I don’t think it’s in my best interests.

  6. Hooptie*

    I am definitely more productive at home for two reasons:
    1 – Fewer interruptions. It is much more relaxed at home as a result.
    2 – Since I don’t have a commute, I tend to start earlier and work later

    I try to balance working at home and going into the office. There are just too many hallway conversations and one-offs that I don’t like to miss and that I feel are critical.

    I’m watching a new manager blueprint a dead-end career path for herself due to her determination to work at home the majority of the time. (And trust me, several people have tried to mentor her but she is super stubborn.) It is so important to balance it and build face-to-face relationships as much as possible, especially if you want to grow in a company.

    1. Jen RO*

      I couldn’t work at home full time, but when I manage to do it I am super productive. If I’m in the office I get interrupted dozens of times a day; if I’m home, sometimes my coworkers forget about me and I can actually *think* for more than 10 minutes. My cats are 100 times less distracting than 13 people who need my help.

      1. the gold digger*

        My cats are 100 times less distracting than 13 people

        Except I have never had a human sit on my computer keyboard and disconnect three number keys and hit some setting that reprograms all the keys to be screen shortcuts.

        1. Jen RO*

          They are actually not that interested in me. They just sleep all day (sometimes on my desk, but without interfering)… and that’s it.

          (By the way, putting an empty box on my desk totally got rid of cats between me and the monitor!)

        2. Ezri*

          Cats know all the secrets of keyboards. My parents have one that beelined for the wifi button.

          1. ThursdaysGeek*

            I had a cat step on our remote and change the movie we were watching to PAL format. I have no idea why the designers of that remote thought there was a need for a way to switch formats during a movie. But yes, the cat knew the secret button sequence.

            1. RegularAAMPoster-InNewField*

              Growing up, I had a cat who knew the exact number of laps to take around our building that would anger my mother. She also turned over her food dish when hungry, had taught herself how to fetch (and would lose toys intentionally to signal “time to play”) and enjoyed swimming, like in swimming pools. Cats are tricky, clever little creatures.

      2. Jen RO*

        On another note, I have horrible, horrible posture if I’m working at home and I seem to be unable to fix it. I even measured my desk and chair height and everything is exactly like at work.. but I think that I get too comfortable, start twisting around in my chair, and I have the mother of all headaches by evening. Ugh.

        1. The Maple Teacup*

          Whoever designed the power On/Off button at the top of a computer did not live with cats.

  7. Frances*

    I think Cat (what is and can be measured) and Burgher (office interaction) make interesting points.

    In this particular study it appears that staff were doing support calls which the study authors said is easily measurable. Since they did not see a change over the 9 month period, they believe the improved productivity to be sticky. It would be harder to quantify productivity if staff have a mix of different types of work (long-term vs. day-to-day) but that is true even if you are all in the office.

    Two colleagues, who both work from home, find the lack of interaction the worst part. A lot gets shared in the seemingly trivial chit-chat before and after meetings or over coffee. There is a bonding that goes on that they can’t always participate in. Luckily, both worked for years in the office so they had solid relationships with everyone before telecommuting. And both make a point of working in the office every few months to reestablish those bonds or form new relationships.

    1. Rat Racer*

      It helps if the vast majority of folks are either working at home or spread out across different offices. I work full time from home, but even if I went into an office everyday, it would not connect me more closely to my team, seeing as how we’re all over the country. Many people choose to go into their offices daily, or several days a week, but frankly, I can’t tell if someone is working at home or in an office setting unless they’re responding to my email at 10 pm East Coast time. Or if there is a dog barking in the background of a conference call.

  8. TT*

    For me, lack of commute puts at least 2 working hours back into my day. And overall it increases my productivity for work and home items. My job doesn’t allow for that every day, but having at least 1-2 days a week is ideal.

  9. MK*

    I think people overestimate the lure of the laundry basket. I mean, I work at home a lot and usually I use work as an excuse to avoid chores, not the other way about. But then again I like my work more than housework.

    One thing to take into account, though, is that working from home is usually an option that is given to trusted great employees, so it’s not so odd that they continuing to do good work. Also, they are aware that they are granted a perk which can be taken away, so they have an extra incentive to not let it affect their productivity. I am not sure these results would hold if anyone could choose to do it.

    1. Jen RO*

      I honestly don’t see what the deal with laundry is. I *will* take breaks regardless of where I am, who cares if I’m doing laundry or checking out Facebook?

      1. ThursdaysGeek*

        Plus, how often does it happen that you suddenly realize you just spent the last half hour watching the washing machine?

      2. AvonLady Barksdale*

        Yes! My boss, who is awesome, has this thing about laundry– “When you’re working from home, it’s not laundry day!” Yet… laundry is the perfect break. It takes 5 minutes to put in then requires that you step away for a while.

        1. So Very Anonymous*

          Laundry is like pomodoro to me — OK, laundry is in washer for 30 minutes, what can I get done in that 30 minutes? Go!

        2. Windchime*

          Sorry, but when I’m working at home it is absolutely laundry day! I sort it all out before hand, and then once an hour or so, I take 5 minutes to rotate in a new load and fold the load that’s coming out. I’m done by noon and I’m still working. If people can take a break to go chat in the breakroom or smoke a cigarette, I can take a break to rotate the wash.

    2. catsAreCool*

      I telecommute, and a couple of times I tried doing laundry during working hours. The problem was, I got so busy with work, by the time I remembered the laundry, it had been sitting in the washer for most of the day.

      Maybe that just means I don’t like doing laundry :)

  10. AllieJ0516*

    In my experience, it depends on the work and the frequency of WAH days. I despised my last job, which was WAH full-time; it was work that I was not particularly good at (admin ass’t for a remote sales rep, my history is production planning and sales), and I found myself easily distracted. The awesome job that I have now is mostly at the office, with the opportunity to WAH as needed (repair man coming, etc); in those very infrequent cases, because I do like the job, I am more productive at home than I’ve been in the past.

  11. Bend & Snap*

    I’m currently doing 3 days a week at home and i’m so much more productive. it’s easy to write, easy to stay organized and there are no interruptions.

    i do kind of take a hit on face time though, and people always sit at my desk when i’m not there and mess with my stuff.

  12. AJ*

    I’m a teacher and so working from home isn’t feasible for most of my job, but I wish I could work from home to do my planning. During my prep time and on the days when we have PD/planning days, I hardly get any work done. There are other adults around everywhere and they are talking to me or each other. As an introvert, I need that quiet environment to focus, process, and execute tasks. I get more done from home in the evenings and on weekends than I do at work. My work won’t allow me to work from home even days when it’s feasible to do so (as an example I have 2 days coming up that are PD days but nothing is planned for me, so I have 2 full days to plan, but it had to be done at school). So, I end up taking more of my personal/free time to work.

  13. Paloma Pigeon*

    I have always been in the pro-telecommute camp, but the organization I work at now suffers from severe abuse of this policy. People announce they are ‘working from home’ and basically they are taking a paid day off. No emails, phone calls, memos, meetings, files, NOTHING is done. It’s a big problem and the staff that do make the effort to come in and move projects forward find it very frustrating. Unfortunately, the Executive Director is the worst offender.

  14. The Office Admin*

    I would love to work from home. I’ve mainly been job searching for admin and sales assistant positions that are WAH. I go to an office every day and WAH isn’t exactly kosher here, I mean, I can forward the phones, answer emails and actually get my work done at home, but my boss believes in face time more than anything. Which is strange considering in a 40 hour work week, I’m usually alone in the office for about 32 to 35 hours per week, so I don’t exactly have human interaction in my office. At least at home my dog might come and bring me a toy to toss occasionally ;) and listen to me mutter nonsensical things to myself.

  15. Phouka*

    I’ve worked exclusively from home for almost 10 years — travelling 2-3 days a month to remote clients, but otherwise from my home office for my employer (who is in another state). I’m a programmer/database developer, so that helps- give me wifi and I can work anywhere. But home is far more productive: Fewer interruptions, less chit-chat, less activity at home that makes it harder to concentrate. I can turn off everything, and focus. That’s hard in an office environment, for the most part. Especially in a cube-farm.

    I am definitely more productive, on the whole. I have a better office set up than most I’ve had in actual offices, with good communication and hardware. I find that I am actually “at work” more than would be if I was commuting. Prior to my work-at-home gigs, I commuted 1hr+ each way to work, and it impacted my work life and my home life so badly that I was probably the worst employee I’ve ever been: doing the minimum, watching the clock. Now? I can walk down the staurs and start work, and I’m available to my employer more easily even than being in the office. I am probably overly-reachable — for me, the trade-off of working remotely is that I am on top of commuincatiion and will — if necessary — answer calls outside of work hours and check emails in the evening. So, if there is a load of laundry to put in, I don’t worry too much about it. But I do fall into the trap of extending my work day beyond the normal 8 hours — it’s so tempting to log in and just check one more thing…

    The hardest part is stopping work — when you work from home, home IS work and it’s hard to disconnect at the end of the day. But the freedom and flexibility of not having to be in my car every day is something that I value tremendously.

    It’s unfortunately that a few bad eggs make it hard for those of us who are diligent and “at work”, not just taking a day off or checking emails while running errands. A woman in my old office once changed her schedule to “work at home” when she had a baby. She did not hire a babysitter, or have daycare, she simply decided she could work at the same time as providing care for her kids. That doesn’t work, and it abuses the system and makes it harder for the rest of us to “prove” that we are productive. But those people are pretty rare, to be honest. At my current employer, the entire IT staff is remote most of the time except for the in-house pc support guy.

      1. quietone*

        Husbands company is doing this. Don’t know if anyone has actually brought a babe in though.

        1. TheLazyB*

          I’d love to know how many people (read [mostly] women) would have taken part if it wasn’t being filmed, therefore increasing the chances of them being treated well (and not penalised).

      2. RegularAAMPoster-InNewField*

        I can. A previous employer actually had a “take your kid to work” day that they brought back on roughly a per-quarter basis, usually to “kick off” a three-day weekend. Lots of people, many of them parents, would take PTO on that day or schedule a work-from-home. As I’m told, it was the “I like my kid, but not all the other people’s kids, and definitely not while trying to be productive” sort of thing.

        I usually scheduled a work-from-home on those days because I had way too much to get done to risk it and was always insanely more productive than I ever could have been in the office, kids or not. And this was during a career when I always had my own office or when more junior at least a cube. This field is shrinking and becoming less competitive so for the sake of security I am now in a field that is being particularly impacted by the worst of silly office space trends, e.g. open layouts for people doing highly detailed work, enforced workplace celebrations for invented reasons, etc. The upside is that the backstabbing and pettiness endemic to my old field is not tolerated. The downside is, you always get that one bad apple who has read the mission statement 2,000 times but somehow, still thinks it refers to other people, not him.

  16. Chicken Lips*

    I find I need the structure of the office environment in order to be productive. I use my commute to mentally prepare for/wind down from the day. I’m not disciplined enough to be very productive at home.

    1. Ezri*

      I start getting anxiety when my work life bleeds into my home life. We aren’t allowed permanent WAH schedules, but we can take the occasional day for extenuating circumstances (repair guy, car breaks down, etc). On weeks that I WAH, I have a harder time disconnecting after hours because I’ve confused my brain into work mode in areas that are usually play mode.

      Plus, cats. They’ll cheerfully ignore me at all hours when I’m home, but if I’m at my desk with a laptop they suddenly realize they will die without immediate affection.

      1. the gold digger*

        Yes. When I actually want a cat to sit in my lap or by me and be all snuggly, they are not interested.

        But put me at the kitchen table with a computer or a newspaper, and it’s affection or die.

        1. AnotherFed*

          Exactly this, but with dogs! My dogs have figured out the magic keyboard button to send an email in progress… so many of my WAH emails get cut off partway through because home apparently means we need to go play Frisbee instead of work.

    2. mess*

      Me too, I’m much more productive at the office, so much so that sometimes if I have to get some work done at weekends I still come into the office even though I have a laptop/wifi. I also don’t have a great desk set up at home and a terrible chair so the office is also more comfortable!

  17. IDK*

    I work from home 5 days/week and I am actually more productive at home than I am in the office. When I’m at home, the TV is off, I don’t have visitors and grabbing a bite to eat is quick and easy. When I’m in the office, there are those elevator/break room chats, people stopping by my office to say “hi” or to ask for help etc.
    Plus when I’m at home I work right up to the minute whereas when I’m in the office, I wind down sooner to avoid the mass exodus of employees leaving the complex/garage.

    1. Vicki*

      It depends who you are, of course, but for some of us the only way to be productive is workign at home.

      At home I have: no coworkers. My spouse in his office upstairs; me in mine downstairs. No kids. No neighbors knocking. Four cats who wander by on occasion. A chair, desk, trackball, and lighting setup that meets all of my ergonomic needs. Three 27″ monitors. A window. I’m online with IM and email and reply quickly.

      In an office I have: co-worker noise, breakroom noise, elevator noise, stairway noise, nearby meeting room noise, ringing phones, conversations, weird smells, people walking past, bad fluorescent lighting, strange A/C changes, interruptions, … and a commute.

      At LastJob I finally managed, in the last year, to work from home 4 days a week. I simply decided that the 5th day was going to be the least productive. Meetings were the most productive use of my time on that one day.

  18. harryv*

    I’ve been telecommuting full time since 2007. I work for a global IT company where we have staff online in all regions. I agree that I find myself more available to off hour meetings than I would otherwise had I been in the office. But one major downside is that my people and presentation skills are less recognized and I sometimes feel this is pulling me back on some opportunities to get more exposure. Teleconference and video conference can only do so much.

  19. AAA*

    My office has a WFH policy where those with long commutes can work from home one day a week. We try to make it so everyone’s WFH day is Wednesday, that way we minimize disruptions to things like meetings. It’s great–I get all of my quiet focus work done on Wednesdays, whether or not i’m in the office, since there are so few meetings that day!

  20. ZenCat*

    Sad as it is to admit, I learned after working from home for seven years to moving to an in-office situation that I cannot intensely focus for 8hrs in a row every single day. It mystifies me how anyone can work like that. There are times I go down the programming or graphics design rabbit hole and work on the same thing for 15hrs and forget to eat. Or weeks where my whole life will be a task I’m trying to complete. Then there are days that I need a mental break every hour or two – even a walk outside or an intense workout – so that I can get ideas worked through. It drained and made me so unhappy having a 8-5 job where every mental moment was “abuzz” with people moving about or interrupting. I feel like an idiot or lazy sometimes that I can’t fit easily in to what seems like something that is natural and makes sense to everyone else. The work I do can be intense and creative… And I really prefer just a deadline and then let me project manage, coordinate with people, do my part, update the boss etc without prescribing a finite time of day to do it at my best. I am frighteningly organized, get lots of social interaction with coworkers, and have always put out great stuff (on time). It’s really hard to find workplaces or managers who “get that” lately, especially in the creative fields.

  21. AnotherFed*

    I have far fewer interruptions when I’m working at home, but so much of my job is dealing with those interruptions, and the nature of what we do means it’s hard to get some of that when you’re physically isolated. I also find that I don’t do well at focusing on the same thing for very long, so all the data to day interruptions in the office actually make me happier and more productive – even on boring things, I approach it with the attitude that I probably only have 20 minutes or so of boring thing before a more interesting thing pops up, so I’d better make some progress now and I can come back later.

  22. Telecommuting Curious*

    I think I would love working from home, but don’t know where to start. Prior job was in education, & all of my prep and grading was done at home. I’m wondering if it would be similar to telecommuting for a business/organization. I’m dealing with some medical stuff right now that would make having no commute and staying in pjs very appealing, but I can still knock out the work.

  23. Jason K.*

    My experience is that I am at a minimum 10%-20% more productive at home. This is likely due to these factors:

    1: No one is stopping by my desk and asking for random things and chewing up time.

    2: I’m not pulled into ad hoc meetings. I can still be reached by conference call, but it takes an extra step and helps ensure that I’m only pulled into things where my input is of significance.

    3: Noise level is a lot lower. No distracting side conversations, no one coming and going, etc. Lack of interruptions means I can focus more on the task at hand and I don’t lose my train of thought.

    Related side note: low cubicals are productivity killers. Sure, it helps ID the people that aren’t doing anything, but it also likely hamstrings your most productive people. In fact, I would wager that the majority of the ‘gain’ from telecommuting is simply recapturing the productivity losses from the cubical.

    However, there are drawbacks relating to your level of integration with work. So I don’t think that 100% telecommuting is ideal. The sweet spot is probably between 50% and 80% telecommuting.

  24. John Cosmo*

    I agree that the people working from home can be much more productive, mostly due to the fact that they don’t have to cope with as many interruptions, especially not as many phone calls.

    In my current position as an administrative assistant I don’t have the option. I support eight marketing reps and many days I’m the only person in the department while they’re all working from home. In their absence I have to deal with an awful lot of extra phone calls.

    Many of the calls are about things that I don’t know anything about, and even if I do, I don’t have any authority to do anything. I’ve been told to offer to transfer calls for my co-workers to their voice mail, but I end up having to deal with people who all want to talk to someone about their problem NOW! They’re not very happy when all I can do is offer to transfer them to voice-mail.

    Furthermore, my co-workers’ working from home really kills my personal productivity with the administrative portion of my job. I’ve complained to my department head and told him that there should be at least one marketing rep in the office to take phone calls, but he completely blew me off. I’m looking for another position, either in another department with my current employer, or with another employer.

    1. RegularAAMPoster-InNewField*

      My spouse worked in a place like this on contract. The purpose of the job was database design and software testing, not admin support/management (if I understand your field correctly) but the setup was exactly as you describe, with the entire rest of the team working from home most days. I think another poster who advocated for part-time work from home schedules had it right. When the setup is like yours or my spouse’s contract job, and MOST get to work from home all the time but a FEW never get to, productivity seems to go WAY down.

  25. JAL*

    I am working at home for a few weeks while I’m recovering from surgery, and I was having trouble keeping up my production. I realized that setting up my home office area more like my workspace in the office made all the difference. As of today, I was equally as productive as I am in the office (This is huge because I’m in a highly production driven job).

  26. Matt*

    At my place working from home is possible, but at the same time there’s an unwritten expectation for telecommuters to be “very available” by phone and email. If not, you quickly earn the reputation of not really working when being at home. This kind of eliminates the advantage of being able to work without interruptions …

  27. Brooke*

    Even with multiple pets, a TV, etc I have fewer distractions at home than I do at work. That said, I wouldn’t want to work from home every day. I’ve done it before and it felt pretty isolating.

  28. Brooke*

    This is tangentially related – would love advice from folks:

    I have every other Friday off and my email has an Out-Of-Office auto-reply, with a note that I’m available by phone for urgent calls. I also provide a secondary, in-office contact.

    For those days, I’m trying to find a balance between carrying the work phone (and personal phone) around and checking it a bunch (I might as well be at work!) or setting the work phone aside for a few hours at a time and risk missing a call. I’m not a manager but am a senior-level designer with occasional high-maintenance clients.

    Any advice? Thanks!

    1. Brooke*

      OP here – I should add that I let all clients know when I’ll be out and set them up with a “sub” should the need arise.

  29. Sam P.*

    I find that I’m a much better people leader on my in-office days when I’m able to take a few WAH days throughout the month to get heads-down, number-crunching type work done. If I have deliverables for my boss, or I have to put together a presentation or a spreadsheet, and my direct reports or their staff members are coming up to me all the time, my first responsibility is to them, so I don’t want to always be saying “Just a minute, I’m finishing this up” so when I can consolidate that time to a few power sessions from home (still available by email and phone) then when I’m in the office, the things I’m working on are more easily interrupted and I can be much more available to my team.

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