Working From Home: Job Necessity or Just a Great Perk?

How important is it to you to work from home?

To work from home or not to work from home…that is the question at workplaces lately. Ever since Yahoo! CEO, Marissa Mayer‘s recent memo to employees was made public, there’s been an outpouring of media discussions regarding working from home, a.k.a. telecommuting. Some say that Mayer’s decision is antifeminist and not supportive of a “work-life balance” while others say the move is a necessary step and part of her duty as CEO to figure out how to make Yahoo! a more innovative and competitive company.

With so many different views out there, we wanted to get the viewpoints of workers themselves–How important is it to employees that a remote option be available to them? Why do people want to be able to work from home and does it help increase productivity? Using SurveyMonkey Audience, a powerful feature that collects insight from a custom audience, we asked over 500 Americans who split their time between offices and home to get their thoughts on the matter.

Take a look at what we found out:

Nearly half of all workers (46%) responded that if workplace flexibility was eliminated, they’d dig their gig less, however when asked if they’d go so far as to quit their job if working from home was removed? Over 70% said they wouldn’t go that far but nearly a quarter of folks replied with a Maybe.

When doing an office workday, what do people miss most about working from home? The peace and quiet? Taking Spot out for a quick walk? Maybe getting a head-start on that pile of laundry?

Nah. It’s all about the sweatpants, folks.

It’s probably pretty safe to say that people love their comfy clothes no matter what but during work hours, this is particularly important with almost 29% saying that “working in my sweats or other comfortable clothes” is what they miss the most about working from the home office when they’re onsite. Welcome interruptions from co-workers came in at a close second (26%) and multi-tasking (working out, doing the dishes) came in last.

So we’ve learned about the good stuff that comes with working from home but what about the not-so-good-stuff?

Shaky Internet access or even worse–none! Nearly 35% said that ease of online access was a big challenge followed by distractions leading to missed deadlines (20%). Dealing with noise in the background–babies crying, dogs barking–during business conference calls rounded out the bottom.

On the flip side, what do employees miss most about the office when working from home?

Chatting with co-workers about fun stuff–not work stuff–topped the list at 50%. It also topped the list of biggest at-work distractions (53%). Getting lunch with co-workers came in second and–the folks in HR can breathe a sigh of relief–flirting with co-workers was missed the least at only 3%.

Now what about productivity? If an employee’s working from home, how hard are they actually working? With less office distractions but more home distractions, what does it mean for a company in terms of efficiency?

Perhaps surprisingly, results came in nearly even with telecommuting getting the slight edge. Workers replied that they end up working more hours when getting to do so in those sweatpants than at the office at 51% with 48% saying it’s at the office where they put in more hours.

Whether people are working from home or working within the company’s walls, one thing’s for certain–people are working and working hard. Emphasizing the importance of a “work-life balance” has become a modern phenomenon and one that seems to be on the rise. At the end of the day, company leaders will need to continue keeping an eye on workplace trends and listening to their employees in order to maintain important things like job satisfaction and productivity.

What do you think about telecommuting? Should employees have more workplace flexibility? Sound off for us in the Comments section below! 

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  • http://www.fpadrs.org Alice Henderson

    The company that employed me over 5 years ago was concerned. They could not afford office rental and needed someone who could work independently from home and be trusted. I have worked in the association industry for 35+ years and have always worked extra hours, whether at home or at the office. When supervising others, I found that with those who were most productive; it did not matter. They worked as effectively from home and long-distance as at the office. Managing the snipe and jealousy of other workers in the office who, for a variety of reasons, would never be good home-office workers could sometimes be challenging. As a full-time home-office executive, I can attest to the efficacy of the survey. However, as one with few home distractions, I find my time is very productive, permits me creative thought time — and if I wake at 2 am with a brilliant idea — it’s 40 steps and to work at the ‘office’. Frankly, I would not trade it now that I have tasted it. It’s the best of all work worlds — but as with everything, one man’s poison is another’s dessert. Thanks for the opportunity to comment.

    PS: And, taking a ‘one size fits all’ as the Yahoo “leader” has done is not in the books of best leadership practices.

    • Kayte K

      Hi Alice- Thank you for your thoughtful insights! Appreciate your feedback and keep on reading. :)

  • http://NA Chris Dial

    I think I probably speak for a sizable minority here when I say that if I couldn’t work from home I *wouldn’t* be able to work my current job. My wife is physically tied to our current location in Oregon, and my company is in PA. If they cancelled WFH, I would have to find another job.

  • http://dragosmocanu.com Dragos Mocanu

    It all boils down to the temptations found in the house. The less there are, the more productive you shall be!

    • Kayte K

      Great point!

  • http://Jaikumicro-bloggingandFacebookareprovidersthatyoucanusetoyourbenefit.They'rebothgreatassetstokeepyourvisitorsup-to-date.Useallofthefreeresourcesyoucanfindtoboosttheaccessibilityandawarenessofyo jobs online from home

    Hey there! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be okay. I’m definitely enjoying your blog
    and look forward to new posts.

    • Kayte K

      Hi there- you can follow us at @SurveyMonkey. Thanks!