Working from home could greatly benefit work-life balance, according to some experts. In a recent editorial, researcher Scott Boyar of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) argues that telecommuting is easier on your wallet as well as the environment. For this reason, he recommends that certain organizations and corporations rethink their current policy.
In light of Yahoo’s recent decision to restrict its telecommuting practices in an effort to promote productivity, Boyar submits that the amount of time spent in office is not necessarily proportional to the amount of work performed. Instead, methods for maximizing productivity varies between individuals as well as the tasks performed. For this reason, upper management should refrain from making blanket statements about working from home.
“While there can be distractions at home like kids, animals, TV and chores, there’s often flexibility to transition among various roles – particularly family – if boundaries can be set with some self-discipline,” Boyar said in a press release. “If there is ability to adjust your schedule around kids, you could begin your work at 6 a.m. while they sleep. Break to get them to school, then go back to working.”
This way, a worker is able to minimize inactivity across the work-life balance. In addition, the fluid schedule preempts the distractions that inevitably attend the social aspect of the office. In areas with limited or congested infrastructure, working from home also saves time by removing the need for lengthy commutes.
“The success of an employee working from home depends on the person, on the job and on the training the organization provides to do that role remotely,” Boyar explained. “An organization has a lot of responsibility when letting workers go virtual, but the employee carries a lot of it too. There are questions they should ask themselves.”
Does it fit my personality and preference for integrating work into my family environment?
Can I structure my time and stay motivated to work throughout the day?
Will I fight the temptation to want to skip workdays altogether?
If the answer to all of these questions is yes, telecommuting may be an excellent way to avoid distractions and maximize productivity. In the end, it may benefit employer as well as employee.