It may seem appealing, and even luxurious to be able to work from home in your pajamas, or work remotely while sipping lattes at a local outdoor cafe. There is a growing body of research that highlights the drawbacks of WWWBS (Working While Wearing Bunny Slippers).
In a recent Crain’s Chicago Business article, Ryan Bonnici highlights how remote work may not improve our work-life balance Read more here. He cites studies that suggest working remotely creates many problems. One, the reduction in social interaction leads to people becoming more lonely and isolated. Another downside is that work often continues during off hours, since “the office never closes.” Research also indicates that working alone inhibits the sort of “spontaneous interactions” that encourage creativity and promote collaboration.
Other recent articles on this topic include this laundry list of issues Fast Company assembled. If you’re STILL not running back to a cubicle, you can read about how disruptive working from home is to a team environment from The Week.
Where do we sit … on this topic? It depends.
It depends on the nature of the work, the time in a person’s career, the type of work someone does, the current child and elder care issues at home. It depends on a person’s personality! Perhaps an employee needs both stimulation AND isolation to complete their assignments. What should the best solution depend upon? A manager that understands their employees and the unique skills and talents each brings and what environment(s) allow each to thrive, together and individually … so that the organization gets the greatest return on Human Capital.
So don’t throw away the bunny slippers just yet …