Ideas on People and Performance, Team Building, Motivation and Innovation

Tag: Working from Home

The Benefits of Telecommuting and working from home

I was one of those “early adapters” of a home-based business and still remember a bunch of us at a conference program I led laughing about how many of us put something like “Suite 101” on our business cards and letterhead (yeah, those sure are two old concepts, business cards and letterhead, huh?).

Home businesses were most definitely NOT a cool thing in those days and we wanted to hide it from people, thus pretend that we were in an office business. It has been so long ago that I am not even sure what year I moved from a rented office to the office in my house (built as a library, with paneling and built-in shelves and all that). Maybe 1998 or something like that?

But working from home did make good sense, and it still makes good sense.

At that conference, I presented a paper called, “Working Home, Selling Globally” — I posted that up in another blog if you want to take a look at those thoughts and even download a paper. Many different factors converged to make it more and more doable over the past 10 years.

I just now saw a post on telecommuting that I wanted to share, since I think that this concept is making more and more sense and the numbers and data that support improvements in work productivity, health, and business-related factors, along with the most certain impacts on family and time and lifestyle also make good sense.

See the post and information here:

That post makes key points like:

Although half of the employees in the U.S. have the option of working from home part of the time, only one in ten opt to telecommute or work remotely. We’ve already heard that remote workers are more engaged and more productive, and that commuting costs almost $1000 per month. But in case those aren’t enough reasons to drive home the advantages of telecommuting, the infographic (by below nicely lays out and reinforces information we already know, including benefits such as

  • Reducing consumption of oil and reduced greenhouse gas emissions
  • Recovering 109 hours per year per typical worker with a 25 minute commute

and goes on about all the benefits.

Hope you find it interesting and can make the case to your employer, if that is the situation.


As an addendum to this, Marissa Mayer at Yahoo has just slammed the door on their people’s abilities to work at home. She made this decision relying on data that seemed to indicate that her organization had productivity difficulties in the way that they were managing their people, that there were not enough management and supervision and that many people were taking advantage of the situation.

The most enlightening comments were these:

“The employees at Yahoo are thrilled,” says one source close to the company. “There isn’t massive uprising. The truth is, they’ve all been pissed off that people haven’t been working.”

THOSE comments reinforce my thinking that most people DO want to do a good job and that many of the good and average workers are frustrated with no one addressing performance problems. There are few secrets in big organizations and most people could probably tell  you who was taking advantage of things. My guess is that, in a few months, people will be back to working flexibly and will be satisfied that the abuses were handled effectively.

There are way too many advantages to working remotely. But like any other workplace situation, it does need to be managed!


And here is another update, a bit more unnerving. With different kinds of sensors, it is possible for companies to track people working at a workplace or even at home. We’ve been doing it with truck drivers and delivery people for a few years, using GPS to track the time and location of vehicles, speed, delivery time on site, and even lunch. GPS can be useful for plotting driving directions to optimize speed and minimize distance.

But now we take monitoring to the workplace.

Sensors are now tracking office productivity

Not only are businesses turning to big data to improve the customer experience, they’re using it to improve office productivity.

The Wall Street Journal reports that companies are equipping employees with sensors (from an ID badge, smartphone, or office furniture) to get a better sense of how employees work — how they move through the office, and how they interact with coworkers.

Here’s what one company, Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc., did with data from a sensor study that tracked how employees moved through the office, along with their voice levels and conversational patterns.

Cubist discovered a correlation between higher productivity and face-to-face interactions. It found that social activity dropped off significantly during lunch time, as many employees retreated to their desks to check emails, rather than chatting with one another.

In response, the company decided to make its once-dingy cafeteria more inviting, improving the lighting and offering better food, to encourage workers to lunch together, instead of at their desks.

They also implemented a 3 p.m. break to get workers through the afternoon doldrums.

A similar study by Bank of America found that taking measures to get employees mingling boosted productivity by 10 percent.

The challenge with sensor studies, however, is gleaning insights from the data to make smart business decisions. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, for example, used big data to decide to ban telecommuting. The decision got a lot of push back from telecommuting proponents, using data of course.

The real message here: big data is insightful, but its meaning isn’t always clear.

The above taken from Smart Planet:

Big Brother and his boss may soon be watching what happens in the workplace and even monitoring conversations between people.

Don’t mess around! colors

Does this have a logical end, somehow?

Do try to have more FUN out there, if you can!



Close to one out of four employees within the United States now perform at least some of their work at home. Home-office workers were seven times more likely to have a bachelor’s degree than those with minimal levels of formal education.

(from )

These are some of the findings of the “American Time Use Survey,” conducted and released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The bureau’s survey of 150,000 workers found on days they worked, 23 percent of employed persons did some or all of their work at home.

Among workers age 25 and over, those with a bachelor’s degree or higher were more likely to work at home than were persons with less education – 38 % of those with a bachelor’s degree or higher performed some work at home on days worked compared with 5%  of those with less than a high school diploma.


Scott Simmerman

Dr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement tools. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant. 
Connect with Scott on Google+ – you can reach Scott at

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Working Home, Selling Globally

In the late 90s, I was asked to present some ideas at a conference for the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) on the theme of building a consulting business and ideas for building international business, since I was successfully moving in both those directions.

As a tool, I put together a simple little package of ideas, that was presented as a workshop, with the goal of helping people gain some grip on the concept of working from home (maintaining low costs) and selling globally (making the business less local and more open to being recession-proof). Now, in my 28th year of business, I have a number of exclusive relationships with non-US companies representing my intellectual property on a royalty basis and who give me global exposure for the sale of my materials, so I guess this stuff actually worked.

Today is a session from the LinkedIn’s Top Recommended People (TRP) Group (one needs recommendations from others to join) on “Finding That Exclusive Work / Life Balance” which is moderated by Joy Montgomery.

That got me thinking that I might post up that paper on building a home business that might be generally helpful to people. The last revision of this was in 2006 and I asked a college professor friend of mine who works with adults and consulting as a theme to use it as a group discussion project, which has not happened yet. That would be a good way to gather some new ideas and update it a little. But the handout, which you can download by clicking here, is meant to be a self-paced, idea-generating document.

Maybe it will help you generate a new idea or re-frame an older one to move things forward.

Have some FUN out there, too!

Ideas for business improvement

Dr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement tools. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant.
Connect with Scott on Google+ – you can reach Scott at

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