Ana Feliciano wears many hats. “By day, I am a marketing and advertising executive,” she told NBC 6. “By night, I am a mom.”
For the past year, the Miami mom has been juggling it all – working from home with her husband and three-year-old son.
“I have been able to see my son grow, and pick him up from school, something I may not be able to do once I’m actually in an office setting full-time,” she said.
Another perk of working from home is not having to deal with a difficult commute, she said. “I do not miss traffic whatsoever,” she said. “Miami traffic is horrible.”
But there are challenges.
“I work more from home than I did when I was actually in an office setting,” she said. “At night, when you would normally log off around 6 o’clock, sometimes I’m on calls at 6:45, 7 at night.”
Despite the long hours, Ana said she is glad for the opportunity. “I do appreciate being able to work from home and what that has afforded me,” she said.
Nicholas Bloom, a Stanford economics professor, believes working from home will become more common. “The future of work from home is very bright,” Bloom told NBC 6.
In 2014, Bloom conducted a study of 500 employees in China. They usually worked in the office, but they were sent home to work instead full-time. Bloom said the employees were happier and their productivity increased by 13%.
Nine months later, when the study ended, employees were given the choice of working from home or in the office. Bloom found that freedom of choice caused productivity to shoot up even more.
“The expectation in advance was that they’d be less productive, goof off and get distracted, but it was exactly the reverse,” he said. “They were massively more productive, they were far happier and their quit rates were lower because they loved working from home.”
But Bloom noted that working from home full-time had drawbacks, like loneliness and lack of collaboration. He also said employees who work outside the office are not promoted as much as those who go in.
Ana, meanwhile, told us she is working on finding balance.
“Burn out is very real,” she said. “We just don’t disconnect and yeah, to a certain extent, we are burnt out and at the end of the day, I am exhausted.”
But once her office opens up, Ana said she hopes to have the option of continuing to work from home on some days.
“I definitely see some sort of hybrid model in my future, in which I go in maybe three times a week, and work from home twice a week.”
Bloom said 90% of the companies he surveyed were asking employees to return to the office just part-time. He also said you should not worry if you have seen headlines about companies slashing the pay of employees who work from home full-time because they moved to a cheaper city, noting that it's very rare.