Oh, the American dream. Suburbs, driveways, sidewalks, clean cut grass, a white-picket fence … and you in your pajamas, working from home. Right? Well, it is 2011, and more Americans are working from how now than ever. A recent report by Skype found that 34% of Americans surveyed now work from home at some point during the week. So how can you work from home, too?
If you work for someone else, you may find it easier to ask to work from home if you work for a larger business. Skype found that larger businesses are more likely to allow remote work as a matter of policy as it benefits both employees and employers through increased productivity, reduced overhead and happier employees. These benefits don’t seem to be as clear to smaller business, as less than half of very small businesses allow remote work versus over three quarters of large businesses allowing employees to work from home. You also may be more likely to be able to work from home if you work in IT/MIS or engineering design. Skype found that people who worked in those fields, as well as people who spend most of their time on the road, were able to work from home more often. However, those in administrative, clerical and legal job roles worked from home the least.
If you’re not currently working at a job – or in an environment – that allows for working from home, you may want to look for different job, or a job in a different environment, that offers a flexible culture. Skype found that companies with more than 5 people are most likely to offer working from home as an option. Additionally, companies are starting to offer flex-work to attract flex work is “top-quality candidates”. These businesses find offering flexible time and working conditions is critical to recruiting and retaining effective employees. In fact, over half of the respondent’s to the survey used to compile Skype’s report believes working from home actually makes employees more productive. If you want to work from home, you may want to look for a company that shares these values.
Of course, you could always quit your job and work for yourself so you could sneak in episodes of Grey’s Anatomy while sitting in your pajamas all day long. Because that, of course, would be the ultimate American dream. (Or at least, would be mine.)