So, which is better – working from home or working in an office? Are you more productive in one spot vs the other? Does it matter? Well, of course I have an opinion, but first I thought I would share some research from the Basex company.
Basex has recently been conducting a survey asking these very questions. Keep reading for some of the results!
BASEX:COMMENTARY-OF-THE-WEEK BY CODY BURKE WORKING AT HOME VS. WORKING AT THE OFFICE: TRADING ONE SET OF INTERRUPTIONS FOR ANOTHER
We have been looking at the responses to our New Workplace Challenges survey (if you haven't taken it yet, it's at http://www.basex.com/btwiosurv1), and some interesting observations have bubbled to the top that we would like to share with you all.
When asked to describe the difference in terms of interruption and information overload between working at a corporate office and a home office, a few common themes became apparent.
A sample of responses from the pro-home office camp:
– Home office is always much quieter, and more productive.
– When I worked in a corporate office I was continually being pulled into meetings, most of which were unproductive.
A sample of responses from the pro-corporate office camp:
– I find interruptions at home more difficult to deal with. They are more personal in nature and, therefore, more important to me.
– At home it was interruptions from kids, spouse, the dog needed to go out, the doorbell, the home phone, work phone, Sametime messages, email.
– At home there is a combined information overload of work and home which made it seem more unmanageable.
This response sums up nicely the complexity of blending work and home lives:
– The home “schedule” is really a melding of at least three different
schedules: work, personal, and family. Therefore, the interactions are quite different (and more emotionally charged) than they would be with co-workers.
Quite a few responses indicated that working from home allowed them to “hide”, and actually get some work done by distancing themselves from co-workers and distractions.
Whether hiding at home from office distractions or trying to keep work separate from domestic concerns, the consensus in the responses was that distractions are present in both places, and it's up to the individual to set limits and put systems in place for themselves.
A final thought from this respondent:
– The mobile phone does not distinguish between home & office. I reserve the right not to see e-mail at home… the right to be off-line is my main defense.
Cody Burke is an analyst at Basex. He can be reached at [email protected]
So, what do I think? It depends! Before I started Calahan Solutions, I worked in a large corporate consulting company. We consulted with Fortune 100 companies. At that time, I managed over 250 people, so I became familiar with a number of different work styles.
My personal preference is to work from my home office. I get much more done there. Fewer interruptions, no white noise to give me a headache, I can pump up what ever music is my inspiration for the day and not worry about interrupting others, etc. Hot coffee or hot cocoa next to me and more in easy reach. . . the puppy on the floor snoozing.
That being said, I have managed a number of people that got completely derailed when trying to work from home. There were too many things that distracted them — helped them avoid their work! Laundry, bills to pay, phone calls from Mom, etc.
Working from any location requires setting boundaries that are going to work for the way you work. Being aware of how you get distracted is important and different for every individual. Some people need to get dressed up and go to an office, while others are just as productive in their “jammies” at home.
My environment makes a huge difference! The way it looks, smells, sounds, functions, etc. is important. (I'll talk more on that another day.)
What works for you? What is your productive environment like?