Thirty years ago, it was very common for a manager to work at home on an evening or on the weekend. Typically, the type of work done was not regular office work, not catching up on daily responsibilities but was more project oriented. Home work was left for things that required concentration, that were more strategic in nature. Whether it was preparing or reading a report, preparing a speech, or developing plans, home work was more cerebral in nature and in many ways actually could be quite enjoyable. The problem with the technological revolution isn’t only that we have added to the amount of work being done at home, it is that the nature of the work has changed significantly.  People are no longer spending time doing thoughtful work at home, they are doing stressful work there. They are spending their time getting caught up with work that they could not get done during the day. They are working on unanswered email (thus causing even more email for people who are trying to get away from work). Even more, they are working directly online, connected in with whatever technology is available at work and thus they may be at home but due to Virtual Private Networks, they have only changed location and can do everything at home that they can do at work.

Thus many years ago, while people did have to work at home, the work was different than the type of work that was done while at the office. If you believe the adage that change is as good as a rest then the fact that work done at home was different than work done at the office meant that the change of work was just as good as not doing work at home at all.