Don’t you just love it when studies prove something you’ve known all along? That’s definitely the case here! Turns out, working at home in your pajamas truly is the key to happiness, and there’s hard data to back it up. Read on to learn what specialists had to say on the subject, plus get some tips on balancing your work/home life.
Working from home is the secret to a happier and more productive life
The years of people asking, “When will you get a real job?” when they find out you work from home are, thankfully, over. Today, more and more people than ever telecommute at least part time. In fact, According to Owl Labs’ 2019 State of Remote Work report, Americans work from home 66% more frequently than their global counterparts. How does that translate to happier and more productive lives? Let’s take a look at the study details to find out.
About the Study
Owl Labs, the company behind one of the most popular video conferencing tools (Meeting Owl), recently released their second annual “State of Remote Work” report. This year they partnered with researcher Kate Lister, president of Global Workplace Analytics, to ensure that both their research methods and interpretations of the results were scientifically sound.
They surveyed 1,202 full-time workers between ages 22-65 throughout the US. Of those who responded, 62% reported that they work from home at least part time, while only 38% spend all of their time working in an on-site office.
Since the report is positively massive, we’ll just go over some of the highlights here. If you already spend the majority of the time working at home in your pajamas, they shouldn’t be too surprising.
- 26% of home workers said they make more than $100,000, compared to just 8% of those who work on site.
- On the flip side of that, only 7% of telecommuters made less than $25,000, compared to 10% of those who work in brick-and-mortar offices.
- 83% of all those who responded (both home and office workers) claimed that the ability to work from home would make them happier.
- 81% of all responses said the ability to work from home would make them better able to deal with work/life conflicts.
- Full-time remote workers say they’re happy with their jobs 22% more often than those who work only in on-site locations.
Bottom line, those who work from home tend to make more money and feel more job satisfaction than their on-site-only counterparts.
The Owl Labs study is the only- or even the first- to discover that working at home in your pajamas has enormous benefits. Let’s take a look at a few more studies.
More evidence that working from home in your pajamas is the key to happiness
Way back in 2007, the American Psychological Association concluded a 20-year study on telecommuting. Their findings? It’s a “win-win for employees and employers, resulting in higher morale and job satisfaction and lower employee stress and turnover.”
Three years later in 2010, Brigham Young University released the findings of their own study, explaining that those with “a flexible schedule and the option to telecommute can work 19 hours more per week before experiencing conflict between work and personal life.” In other words, they’re more productive.
That same year, a University of Wisconsin study concluded that “employees who telecommute the majority of the work week are more satisfied with their jobs compared to those working mostly in the office because working remotely alleviates more stress than it creates.”
Adults are the only ones who benefit when from telecommuting, either. A 2018 Penn State study looked at the sleeping habits of kids from ages 5-9 and discovered that kids got less sleep when their moms had less flexibility in work schedules. On the flip side, when moms gained flexibility (by telecommuting, for example), their children actually slept more.
Of course, it’s not all good news. Some studies found that telecommuters put in more unpaid hours than those who punch a clock in an on-site location. Others discovered that it seriously blurred the boundaries between work and home life. So, how can you reap the rewards without paying the proverbial piper? Read on for some tips on how to balance your work and home life as a telecommuter.
How to balance your work & home life as a telecommuter
The major downside to working from home is, of course, that you’re working in the same place you eat, sleep, and unwind with your family. See, those who actually leave their house to go to work also get to leave work at the end of the day. They get in their cars and drive away from their office computers, business files, and other job essentials.
When you work from home, all of those things are never more than a few steps away. It’s just so tempting to say, “I’ll just quickly check my email,” or “I’ll just finish this last paragraph so I’m ahead for tomorrow.” Before you know it, you’re working 16-hour days and seeing less of your family than when you worked in an office.
So, how can you keep the balance? Here are a few simple tips.
Set a work schedule (and actually stick to it)
Decide how many hours you want to work each day, what time you’ll start and (perhaps more importantly) what time you’ll finish. Set an alarm if you have to. When it rings, it’s time to “clock out.” No excuses, no “I’ll just finish this…” You’re done. Walk away.
Make sure you schedule in breaks!
If you worked a full-time job at an office, you’d likely have a short morning break, a lunch break, and a short afternoon break. Throughout the day, you’d likely also leave your desk to use the bathroom, grab a cup of coffee, take a file to another office, and so on. Basically, you’d get up and out of your chair on a fairly regular basis. Make sure you do the same at home. At the very least, stand up and walk around the room for a minute or two every hour and give yourself a real lunch break. Better yet, schedule some time to go out with friends twice a week for lunch.
Choose one specific area of your home as your “office”
If you have a spare room in your house, by all means, use that. For those who don’t have tons of extra space to create a whole home office, just designate one spot for work. It can be at a corner desk in your living room, a nook in your kitchen or even a specific chair at your dining room table. The point of choosing a single location is to tell your brain, “When I sit here, we think about work. When I leave here, we think about life.”
Dress for success
Don’t worry, I’m not going to parrot all those articles that tell you to put on your business suit and do your hair like you’re going to the office. Kind of defeats the whole purpose of finding our bliss at home in our jammies, right? By dressing for success, I mean putting on clothes that make you feel like you’re ready to start the day. Whether that’s a different pair of PJs or a whole 3-piece business suit, as long as you are comfortable and happy with your attire, it counts. I have a friend who likes to change out of her “nighttime” pajamas and into different “work” pajamas!
Raise your hand if you’ve ever had someone say to you, “Oh, you work from home, you have plenty of time to head this committee/babysit my kid/ listen to me rant for hours about my spouse…” and on and on it goes. Basically, things they’d never ask you to do if you left your house for work. If you’re a Type A personality, saying “Nope, I’m working” is easy enough. For those who have a hard time saying no, though, it can easily derail your entire work/life balance. Tell friends and family upfront, “I work from 8AM to 3PM (or whatever hours you choose), so unless it’s a dire emergency, please respect my schedule.”
Working from home in your pajamas truly is a key to happiness and a great way to find your Ikagi (your reason for being), but only if you do it right. Remember, just because you work from home doesn’t mean you always need to work while you’re at home. In other words, treat yourself the way you’d want a really great boss to treat you. After all, you are your boss!