A full 43 percent of American workers “at least sometimes” do their jobs without leaving their homes, according to a Gallup report released Wednesday. That number differed rather starkly from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ most recent figure—24 percent, as of 2015—but the government agency’s data certainly showed a rise over the past decade, from just below 20 percent in 2007.
“WFH” comes with ample perks, like staying in pajamas, avoiding a long commute and, according to some research, a boost in productivity. Nearly two-thirds of company meetings, for example, involve a pre-set agenda, according to the business collaboration platform Attentiv—which, to be fair, is built for and benefits from the growth of remote working teams.
But doing one’s job while staying in bed can leave a lot to be desired.
A 2016 study of more than 500 workers and managers by London School of Economics researcher Esther Canonico found that the increase in productivity among remote workers waned following “a prolonged period” at home, as they “no longer viewed working from home as a privilege and therefore behaved no differently to office-based staff,” Canonico wrote in the Guardian. She added that some workers even worried about the rise in their utilities bills—and, conversely, the money they’d saved the company by not using the office’s electricity and water, something they believed should have been factored into their salaries.
Employees who telecommute risk increased levels of stress and lower amounts of sleep, a recent United Nations Labor Organization report found. That may be because they’re also more likely to blur their professional and personal lives and isolate themselves from their colleagues, according to a 2015 study by researchers from the City University of New York, the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the University of Florida.
“The research overall suggests that telecommuting may be most beneficial in terms of organizational outcomes when it is practiced to a moderate degree,” the study said, adding that “the success of any telecommuting program will depend on aspects of the person (e.g., self-regulation skills), the job (e.g., degree of task interdependence), and the organization (e.g., support from supervisors).”