The internet has made working from home a great option for a lot of jobs that were once entirely office-bound. But, as much as sitting in your pyjamas and taking breaks whenever you want sounds amazing, it does come with a big downside — isolation.
Even if you’re the world’s most introverted person, going it alone for weeks or months on end is not the best idea, a fact recent research has shown is a big factor in converting home workers back to office ones.
As Scott Mautz explains over at Inc., while working from home can boost productivity as well as physical and mental health, it can take its toll on social health.
Telecommuting is pretty easy now. Skype, Slack and good ol' Gchat — excuse me, Google Hangouts — make communicating with your colleagues down the hall or around the world a breeze whether you're in the office or not.Read more
Mautz cites a two-year study conducted by Stanford economics professor Nicholas Bloom, where 250 of 500 employees from China-based travel agency Ctrip volunteered to work from home. Then, over the 24 months, they were compared to their office-dwelling counterparts.
The video above covers the results, but essentially, working from home was a clear winner in every department:
[The study] showed an astounding productivity boost among the telecommuters equivalent to a full day’s work. Turns out work-from-home employees work a true full-shift (or more) versus being late to the office or leaving early multiple times a week and found it less distracting and easier to concentrate at home.
However, isolation proved a powerful enough influence to “reconvert” over 50 per cent of these home workers:
One surprising finding did put a cautionary veneer over going all in on work-from-home, however. More than half the volunteer group changed their minds about working from home 100 percent of the time — they felt too much isolation.
Having worked from home for the last five years, I can attest to the effect isolation can have on your state of mind — it doesn’t even take much to throw out your balance. That said, as long as you keep an eye it and actually do something before you become a hermit, there’s nothing to fear from working from home.