I always used to think that I didn’t get much done when working from home – I’d often pop out to the store to pick up groceries, take a nap, make phone calls to friends and watch the occasional TV show when bored. And I never felt particularly stressed. However, I managed to build the foundation of Banter Media from the confines of my apartment, and looking back, I was actually pretty productive. I now work out of an office most of the time – I definitely feel productive, but part of that is because I can get up and go whenever I please and don’t have anyone telling me what to do. I also regularly take days off and work from home – and I believe my productivity has improved quite substantially with the new mix. Many years ago, I had a real office job, and almost went insane from keeping such a regimented schedule. I left (probably before I got fired) to go freelance and haven’t looked back since.
As it turns out, my theories on work and productivity turn out to be right. From BusinessWeek:
Based on a survey of 1,013 American office workers, conducted in June by Wakefield Research, 43 percent watch TV or a movie and 20 percent play video games while officially working from home. Parents are more likely than those without children to partake in these two activities, which aren’t work-related.
Employees might not even be sober: 24 percent admit to having a drink. Twenty-six percent say they take naps. Others are distracted by housekeeping: 35 percent do household chores; 28 percent cook dinner.
Yet despite all the distractions, telecommuters are actually more productive than their peers in the office, according to preliminary findings from Stanford University’s study of a Chinese travel agency.
So, you can watch TV, take naps, call your friends and not feel guilty about it – you’re doing more work than the 9-5ers all in one go.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.