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Working from Home: Returning to Our Roots
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Due to the coronavirus pandemic, an increasing number of employers are allowing their workers to telecommute. While it’s true that some companies have provided employees with this option for years, the widespread outbreak of COVID-19 has resulted in remote work becoming more and more commonplace throughout the world. If you think that working at home is a new concept, you might be surprised to learn that just the opposite is true. Remote work has actually been around since the notion of “work” began. So, in a very true sense, working from home really is returning to our roots.

Some of the earliest examples date back to the Middle Ages, when it was quite common for people to set up shop in their own homes. In fact, going outside the home to an office or some other place of business was relatively rare in medieval times. The majority of people worked where they lived, which were often houses that consisted of a single room. Of course, the businesses that were conducted in these locations were typically very small scale, and many people made their living as weavers, dressmakers, bakers, shoemakers, blacksmiths, butchers, etc. And there was no gender bias when it came to who made a living in those days. Both men and women joined in these at-home businesses in order to support themselves and their families.

Centuries later, during the Renaissance, home-based work continued but evolved somewhat to include storefronts that opened onto the streets of cities. Typically, these shops were separate from the family’s living quarters, which were usually in one or more rooms adjacent to the storefront area.

It wasn’t until much later, during the Industrial Revolution that took place roughly between 1760 and 1840, that people began to leave their homes to work elsewhere. During this time, factories began to spring up in cities, and the jobs they provided meant that many people had to leave their homes each day to go to work. While some portion of the population still maintained home-based businesses, it became more and more commonplace for people to work away from where they lived during this period.

By the turn of the 20th century, it wasn’t just factories that were drawing people to the outside workplace; technological innovations such as the telegraph, the telephone and electricity brought about some of the first modern offices. As an increasing number of people began working outside the home, other industries developed to accommodate those workers, such as modes of public transportation designed to carry commuters to and from their places of business each day. But not everyone left the home to work, even as the 20th century made it more and more common to do so. Women in particular found creative ways to work at home while still managing a household and raising their children. And, of course, people involved in creative pursuits – such as writers, artists and musicians, for example – still typically worked from home.

By the time personal computers first became available to the general public in the 1970s, and in particular with the advent of the Internet in the mid-1990s, most of the technological tools were in place to allow many of us to return to our roots and once again begin to work from home. As cloud computing became increasingly popular, so did a wide variety of cloud-based tools designed specifically for remote workers and their supervisors. One of those tools is MySammy. Our innovative, cloud-based software measures telecommuters’ time and productivity levels without use of “spyware” or website-blocking tools. If you find yourself in the same position as so many other business managers and owners currently do, now is an excellent time to allow your employees to begin to work remotely. As it turns out, working from home is nothing new. And in the midst of the current pandemic, one of the best ways to ensure that your workers remain healthy – and that your business continues on as normally as possible – is to embrace telecommuting. MySammy can help. Contact us today for more information or, better still, sign up now for our free Starter plan!


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