The idea to work from home started long before the technology age. It just has simply evolved over the centuries. Actually for hundreds of thousands of years, combining work space and living space was a natural way for families and communities to efficiently pool resources.
Hunters/gatherers would forage for sustenance and would bring back the fruits of their labor to their home. The so-called fruits would be prepared for consumption, and clothing as well as items for protection.
Agriculture-based jobs have also existed for thousands of years.
In Medieval times, work-homes were precursors to what is known today as the open-plan offices. These floors plans, created in the 1950s, were the forerunner to what was later known as the cubicle-based office. Work-Homes were instituted to combine domestic activities for commercial pursuits in one single living space. Cooking, sewing, weaving, sleeping, eating all in one area were done while harvesting, butchery, dairy and other tasks were performed at the other end of the house, but under the same roof.
Then here comes the Industrial Revolution which had a huge impact on where and how people would work. Mostly men, but some women were pulled from their homes to accomplish the tasks at hand. There were those few who were able to have a home-work place which was a hybrid of their street front shops and the living space in the back or upstairs.
The stage was later set for the modern tech-connected home worker. Women were drawn from their homes to non-traditional work places like factories and munitions industry. What may be surprising is that during this time, the world’s first digital computer was invented. This early innovation was off and running leading the path for personal computers which would shift us back to work from home.
The 1970s brought in the clean air movement, along with gas shortages, high fuel costs. This equated to the perfect scenario and good news for telecommuters. There is little difference between 1973 and now with regard to what remote work looked like. But it does give us some insight into some changes to come.
Government got involved and played a role in normalizing work-from-home jobs. Government embraced this work-from-home change relatively early. Bringing about the Federal Flexible Workplace Pilot Project, this program brought more than 500 workers based in so-called “flexiplaces”. This movement helped to project us to the work-from-home jobs in both government and private organizations.
We have found that between 2005 and 2015, work from home options increased by 115%. It is no longer an extra perk, but rather a requirement for potential employees wanting to work at least one-half of their hours from home. According to research, remote work is on the rise which is good news for those seeking jobs with work-life flexibility. Many will have hour flexibility and/or remote work as a part of their check list when looking for a job.
Employers are starting to see the light and are embracing the change for work flexibility.
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