Working from home isn’t exactly a new concept, so I was surprised to see it was a headline story on NPR today. Then I read the actual story, which is yet another lesson not to judge a book by its cover or an article by its headline. Adam Hochberg’s article and the accompanying audio story look at how commonplace telecommuting has become and at the attitudes employees and employers have toward it.
Hochberg points out that many companies give employees an option to telecommute on occasion, but some workers worry about how it reflects on their reputation.
University of Maryland marketing professor P.K. Kannan says his research has found that about a third of people who can telecommute rarely do so, often because they’re afraid their boss won’t like it.
“It seemed like there was some stigma associated with telecommuting,” Kannan says. “Some people are saying it’s a career suicide. ‘If you’re out of sight, you’re out of mind, so I really don’t want to telecommute even though I could.’ “
And people aren’t just telecommuting on designated days, either. Some companies only exist in the virtual world because workers are spread out. No storefronts, no skyscrapers, no strip malls—just a band of remote employees.
I recommend reading the story if you’re thinking about working from home. Jobs that allow you to work from your home office some or all of the time are often the most sought after, and yet people don’t realize what a culture shock telecommuting can be, especially if they’re used to cubicle world.
For those of you who have worked from home on a temporary or permanent basis, did you like it? Did you hate it? Is it something you would do again (if you’re not still doing it)? Seeing as so many job seekers are looking to these jobs, your firsthand experiences are welcome in the comments section!