Peter Gibbons, a character in the 1999 cult hit Office Space, has a depressing realization one day while sitting in his cubicle. Since he started working, every day has been worse than the day before. So every day that he shows up to his office is the worst day of his life.
“What about today? Is today the worst day of your life?” a therapist asks him.
“Yeah,” he says.
“Wow, that’s messed up,” the therapist replies.
Indeed, work, by definition, is usually not fun. And it’s hard to find anyone who actually enjoys working in a cubicle.
But will work get more fun if we no longer have to sit in uncomfortable rolling chairs, or show up to the office at all?
An increasing number of companies are allowing employees to work from home full-time, or show up just a few times a month, as long as they get their work done. That means employees can choose their hours—if they’re night owls, they can work at midnight and sleep the day away. It may seem a risky move, but the companies are saving employees money and stress commuting, and saving themselves millions on office space.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, for example, started realizing almost a decade ago that they were losing their best workers to competitors that offered programs allowing people to work from home. Blue Cross decided to test out a similar program, and let 150 people work remotely. Now, the company has 736 people who work outside of the office on a full-time basis, which represents about 20 percent of the company.