A while ago I wrote about my experience as a remote worker for the better part of five years. Overall, it was a positive experience that allowed me to spend extra time with my boys and avoid the mess of a daily commute.
Now there are new studies pointing to how flexible work environments are leading to healthier employees.
…a rigorous study out of Stanford recently supported claims that remote work increases productivity. Now another study led by University of Minnesota sociology professor Phyllis Moen is doing the same for results-only work environments (known as ROWE) with a careful examination of Best Buy’s experiment in flexibility.
Earlier studies also found that employees with flexible work environments and schedules were found to be more productive as well. I experienced this result personally but at a personal sacrifice: I was working 70-80 per week. Every week. Even when I wasn’t in my home office I was still working. Even when I was supposed to be on vacation. That’s one of the things that flexibility brought me.
Granted, part of this is due to the fact that I have workaholic tendencies and part of this is that I truly love what I do. Part of this, however, is because I was never able to get away from the office. The office was always right downstairs. The first thing I did every morning? Go in to my office. The last thing I did every day? Go in to my office. It was simply hard for me not to.
I did have added flexibility to go to the doctor and exercise but it was most definitely a double-edged sword. I also had a fully-stocked pantry with snacks for my boys that didn’t cost me $1.00 at the vending machine. There are days when I miss working from home but there are certainly benefits of being back in an office. We may all work remotely one day in the future but let’s at least approach that possibility with our eyes wide open.