Over the last few weeks I have been undertaking a quick semi-scientific assessment of my productivity when I am in the Office and when I am working from home. I’ve only managed to do this across a few days and hence it’s probably not that representative. The results are stark:
- Home working productivity: 166
- Office working productivity: 86
For those of you who haven’t read the previous articles, this assessment has been done solely on interactions (phone calls, meetings, IM, email, etc.) with extra weight being given to the times when I have been adding value and repeat business. I am a knowledge worker and these interactions are my work. I often consider them as extra to my work, but that’s just a mental and emotional shift I have never managed to make.
Is this study valid though, do I feel twice as productive at home as I do in the office. In short, no. I do feel more productive at home, but certainly not twice as productive. One of the things that I haven’t done is to rate the quality of the interactions and face-to-face interactions are certainly of a higher value than those through a technology interface (phone, email, etc.). This would certainly increase the value of the productivity gained from office working. But that assumes that the people I need to interact with are also in the office, which is generally not the case.
Having experienced worked from home there is nothing worse than sitting in an open office on a teleconference, especially as I sit next to an open meeting area and the noise can be terrible.
The flip side of the value of face-to-face interaction is the lack of focus that interactions have in the Office. I may interact casually with more people, but these are probably people who are not adding to my productivity.
The noticeable advantage to home working is the ability to undertake out-of-work activities and knowledge expansion activities. Both of these are non-existent for office working