Working Hard or Hardly Working?

In a recent article on, Vanessa Wong discusses the growing trend of employees working from home. According to a survey that polled over 1,000 American office workers, a substantial portion of them admitted to participating in various leisure activities while “on the clock” during work hours. Some of those surveyed even admitted to napping or drinking alcohol.


Somewhat surprisingly, preliminary studies performed by Stanford University found that some at-home employees are actually more productive than their more traditionally office-based counterparts. Some of the telecommuting employees mentioned within the article said that they highly value the benefits for working from home, such as flexibility of time management and family needs. Half of those surveyed also stated that their bosses oppose the practice of working from home.

This article interested me because my life is personally affected by the “work-at-home” trend. My husband works in a project management position and is afforded the opportunity to work remotely on a daily basis. Though the distractions of home life can sometimes be difficult to deal with, he has also proven himself as one of the most productive, successful employees within his peer group.

Home-based employees could be difficult from a manager’s perspective because it can be more difficult to oversee and control what is happening and companies likely would not like to be paying wages to employees who are not actively performing while on duty. However, productivity is a key component for successful organizations and, if this survey’s results are a true indicator, loss of some control might be a worthwhile trade-off for a more productive employee.

Furthermore, there is an increasing expectation for employees to be in a constant state of availability. Smart phones and laptops have made it possible, and sometimes mandatory, for employees to remain connected at all hours of the day and all days of the week. Business life and personal life used to be clearly defined areas, but they have now bled over into each other’s territories. Advances in technologies are helping the definitions of employment evolve. For many positions, working from home is simply not possible, but for others, it is a definite possibility. I believe that if home-based employees continue to show productivity, the practice of telecommuting may become even more common place in the years to come.

4 thoughts on “Working Hard or Hardly Working?

  1. I think that working from home might be distracting, especially when you have children running around you constantly asking for something. I would love to work from home because I would have more flexible schedule, however I might not be as productive as working in the office. There is always a pressure that someone is watching you to see if your doing your job and if your at home I guarantee you, you will be looking at something else while working. working from home has their pluses and minuses so I think it all depends on what kind of person you are (easily destructed).

  2. This article was very interesting, I can already see that the number of people that work from home is increasing. While I do not think that working from home is a more productive way for everyone, I do believe that it all depend on a person and on the job that they are working. If the job that they work at is more goal oriented, then I can definitely see how working from home could be applied and work well for the person as well as for the company.

  3. I found it very interesting that studies show at-home employees are often more productive than their office based counterparts. I do not think the success of at-home work depends on the job, but more on the person. I’m sure it would be a very good suit for some business professionals, however, I’m sure others would despise the idea.

  4. I think that there are so many side effects from moving the workplace from the office to the home. Not only the issue of distraction, but also the issue of connectivity with other employees and the company itself. Working with people is more than just talking with them (like telecommuting), its also the relationships you build to help solve problems. The idea of the company becomes more distant too, when you are simply not there. I think the psychological and social ramifications should definately be researched a lot more, before mass movements of working from home are really endorsed.

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