By Betsy McCloskey | Partner, Plaid Swan Inc.

We live in an amazing time where technology continues to make the workplace more efficient and adaptable. This evolving technology has also made it easier for businesses to allow employees to work remotely. According to Global Workplace Analytics, the regular work at home population, among the non-self-employed, has grown by 155 percent since 2005. Nearly 3.7 million employees now work from home at least half of the time. 

This increase could be attributed to the fact that employees are asking for this type of environment, or that businesses are taking note that working remotely can increase an employee’s productivity. 

Consider these statistics:

  • Two-thirds of people want to work from home, and 36 percent would choose it over a pay raise.
  • Over two-thirds of companies report increased productivity among their telecommuters.

An office can be a distracting place, and conversations between employees and time in the break room can lead to less productive time throughout the day. Employees who work from home typically start working earlier, take shorter breaks and work until the end of the day. 

Despite these statistics, when I talk to women in the business world who are working remotely, they usually feel like they need to follow up with a reason they do so. "I have kids, so it’s easier to work from home" and "My husband travels, and working from home gives me the flexibility I need" are common reasons I hear. It’s almost as if they feel that working from home makes them a "lesser" employee than that of the office crew, and that is just not the case. All you must do is look at the statistics to know that when you are working from home, you are just as valuable and possibly a more productive employee.

At our company, we have several employees who work remotely most days, and I can tell you that our productivity increases exponentially when we do. We do a lot of writing, and there is nothing better than knowing you will be working quietly from home without meetings, where you can just put your head down and get to work without any interruptions. You can never have that guarantee when you work in an office. 

All employees, whether women or men, should be confident in their decision to telecommute knowing that it doesn’t diminish their role in the organization. Rather, it will likely increase your value, as you will be more productive and have a greater job satisfaction because of it. So the next time you tell someone you work from home, leave the excuse out of it and be confident that your career is important.  

Betsy McCloskey is a partner at Plaid Swan Inc, a full-service marketing communications firm located in Cedar Rapids and Dubuque. She is also a board member for Iowa Women Lead Change, a statewide women’s leadership organization.