Remote possibilities: The curious case of remote workers who work better than office workers

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  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    Sept. 4, 2012 2:44 p.m.

    I agree that many people can do very productive work from home or other location remote from the office, but I wonder if this finding may be skewed by natural selection. Many people who are allowed by their employers to work remotely are the ones who have proven themselves to be productive in an office setting first with little or no supervision. Those who are less productive in the office may not be given the chance to work from home.

    It's kind of like all the studies that show a college graduate earns so much more than a high school graduate without taking into account that the kinds of people who make it through college have high achievement characteristics that will naturally cause them to excel in any environment. Not that college is bad (I went), but it isn't the only factor.

  • J-TX Allen, TX
    Sept. 4, 2012 7:52 a.m.

    I have worked in an office setting. But for the last 15 years, I have been an outside sales Rep working from my home office remotely. There are fewer distractions, I can go to my kid's game or concert and work during time outs, or make up the work in the evening after the kids are asleep. I work while my co-workers are still commuting. I am engaged because I highly value the flexibility the job affords me, and make sure my efforts are seen by my employer as valuable to the organization. Is this any different than a cube dweller, living to punch the time clock? I think so.

  • J-TX Allen, TX
    Sept. 4, 2012 7:51 a.m.

    Lots of good comments here, and I have to agree with 2 Cents, it won't work with every job, and comparing those jobs at the office and those that can be done at home is not a real comparison.

    But how about this one? My company employs 8 regional Sales Managers, of which I am one. We all cover 5 to 7 states. 7 of us work from home. But the guy who lives near the corporate office works out of a cube there.

    When we have quarterly sales meetings, which guy's numbers are consistently under budget? You guessed it. Now, it may be that the rest of us are better at our job. It may be that his market is saturated. It may be a number of things.


  • My2Cents Taylorsville, UT
    Sept. 4, 2012 6:16 a.m.

    I don't believe this story in its entirety because it is not based in comparison to like tasks or working conditions for all at home workers. You can't compare jobs that are one of a kind or very specific in nature with one of common task jobs most business would allow to home working jobs.

    Most work at home jobs are mobile, independent, and not tied to 8hr supervision. Work at home jobs are the elite and independent contracting CEO jobs a company hires so they cannot be counted as work a home. They are a home business and a completely different breed of job.

    This is not the future of American, its limited and experience intensive that is not comparable.

    My idea of a work at home job is being a skilled worker who doesn't' have to work to get paid. Your knowledge is your value. Some jobs can't be done at home and to fool people with these rare contract jobs is and injustice to the claim. I'd bet too that these WAH jobs are disastrous on health, stress, family, and home life.

  • Corn Dog New York, NY
    Sept. 4, 2012 12:50 a.m.

    The modern workday is filled not only with distracting co-workers but also with an incredible amount of non-core, time-wasting tasks like "Diversity Training". Working remotely often allows you to avoid these productivity robbers and actually allows you to get some real work done.

  • The Rock Federal Way, WA
    Sept. 3, 2012 10:57 p.m.

    I am an engineer for a fortune 50 company. I work from home on rare occasions.
    Tekakaromatagi is right. No long winded employees chewing up your time.
    Employers also don't have to pay for office space, heating, cooling or electricity when an employee works from home. I have worked from home in order to get hot projects finished on a tight schedule. I don't have to waste time on the road (parked) and I can work far more hours because I will not be driving while dead tired.

    I know an outside salesman who was laid off. His employer forgot an important fact. The salesman used his own cell phone for work. His cell number was even printed on his business cards. He took the cell phone with him (over his former employers objections) and all his customers along with him to his new employer.

  • Fern RL LAYTON, UT
    Sept. 3, 2012 6:11 p.m.

    There seems to be an advantage to working without the daily commute which saps your energy both directions. Having more energy each day allows you to be more productive. At least that is what I observed when my husband was working from home versus when he has had to go into the office each day.

  • uwishtoo MESA, AZ
    Sept. 3, 2012 4:23 p.m.

    I work remotely for the most part because I own my own accounting firm. On the days I do go in house I only work from 11 - 6 with my major client. I get alot done on those days as well but the difference is when I work remotely I am able to work at 9 at nite or 6 in the morning without an actual office being open

  • BYUalum South Jordan, UT
    Sept. 3, 2012 3:36 p.m.

    Tekakaromatagi: Just curious. Do you answer calls from the United States?

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    Sept. 3, 2012 3:16 p.m.

    I can think of two reasons for this: 1) no visits by longwinded co-workers who talk forever about office gossip, 2) no meetings. I had a supervisor who could talk forever but he talked in vague terms. So he talked, but he answered no questions and he raised additional questions.