The New Habit Challenge: Will Working From Home For A Week Make Us More Productive?

No commute and working in our PJs sounds amazing, but will the lack of human interaction drive us crazy? We’ll spend a week finding out.

The New Habit Challenge: Will Working From Home For A Week Make Us More Productive?
[Photo: Flickr user Karl Baron]

My laptop and a cup of coffee–that’s all I really think I need to start my workday.

And I’m not the only one. According to the Census Bureau, more than 13 million people in the U.S., or 9.4% of the American workforce, worked from home at least once in 2010.

In fact, a recent survey of business leaders at the Global Leadership Summit in London found that 34% of leaders said more than half their company’s full-time workforce would be working remotely by 2020.

Meetings can happen over Skype or Google Hangouts, and you can stay constantly connected to your coworkers in company chatrooms like Slack or have one-on-one conversations on instant messengers, so staying connected and getting work done is easier now than it was a few years ago.

But will people still get their work done with all the distractions and temptations of home around?

Some studies say yes. In 2013, Stanford University conducted a study by randomly assigning employees at a call center to work from home and others to work in the office for nine months. The result was a 13% performance increase by those working from home.

And there’s a strong business case for it too, the same study found that the company estimated that they saved $1,900 per employee on furniture and supplies over nine months

In addition, proponents for remote work tout increased creative thinking time, zero office environment distractions, and no commute–which National Geographic fellow Dan Buettner equates to a $40,000 raise–among the many benefits for punching the clock at home.

So for the next week, several of us at Fast Company will give working from home every day a try. To make sure we’re setting ourselves up for success we’ll take a look at tips for working remotely from some of our freelancers who work remotely full time.

We hope you’ll join us. Try a week of working remotely for the next week, or even just escape your office for a few hours a week and work in a coffee shop (it has some of the same benefits).

Tell us what you loved and hated about it, if it worked or totally bombed. Send your responses to habits@fastcompany.com by end of day Thursday, October 16, or join in the live chat at 11 a.m. EST on Friday October 17.

About the author

Rachel Gillett is a former editorial assistant for FastCompany.com’s Leadership section. Her work has been featured on PopPhoto.com, AOL.com, and elsewhere.

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