For many of us, the idea of skipping the morning commute, sitting at our laptops in pajamas and having tea breaks as and when we please are some of the obvious perks about working at home. But according to a new study, remote working can be good for our health and productivity too.
Separate research has found that those who work from home report that they get better work satisfaction and suffer less from "working exhaustion" meaning they enjoyed better sleep. When it comes to gender, studies found that the women were the workers who were likely to perform better in a remote environment.
Researchers from the University of Stanford conducted a study based on 255 workers at a large travel agency based in China. Half of the workers were based in the office and the other half based at home, working the same shifts for a period of nine months.
While the productivity of office-based workers remained stable, there were obvious, positive, differences between the home-based control group. Those that worked from home were on average 13 percent more productive as well as being more productive by the minute. Some of the reasons cited for the boost in productivity of the remote workers included less noise distraction, fewer breaks and fewer sick days.
The study's authors concluded in Harvard Business Review: "Our advice is that firms — at the very least — ought to be open to employees working from home occasionally, to allow them to focus on individual projects and tasks."
Yet working from home may not be for everyone, particularly those who are disengaged from their work or prone to distractions. In a separate and unrelated study by the University of Calgary in 2014, research found that when it comes to work-from-home productivity, personality is the key component in whether remote working will be a success.
Workers who were honest, conscientious and enjoyed their jobs were productive at home, while (perhaps unsurprisingly), workers who had a tendency to procrastinate were less productive at home.