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To Work from Home; or Not to Work from Home

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homeofficeTo work from home; or not to work from home. That is the question.

I like going to work by going to work. Ya know what I mean?

What I’m trying to say is, I like to wake up, say my prayers, read my Bible, take a shower and drive to an office.  Generally, I think that an environment focused on just the company is productive in today’s workforce.

But am I right?

According to Forbes.com, “Employees Who Work At Home Are More Productive Than Office-Dwellers.”

In an article written by William Craig of WebPageFX, a Stanford University study that was performed by economics professor, Nicholas Bloom was quoted.

“Over a nine month period in which he studied a Chinese travel center called Ctrip, Bloom found that the company’s at-home employees didn’t just “measure up” to the on-site employees – they handily outperformed them. Bloom and his team discovered that the employees who worked from home were quite a bit more productive in a given week than they’d been at the office; at-home employees made, on average, 13.5% more calls per week than their counterparts in the office. This translated into roughly a whole extra work day every week, and all because of a simple change in scenery. Maybe it goes without saying, but the company’s at-home employees also boasted a higher rate of job satisfaction.”

For me there are factors and/or circumstances involved that help or hurt my production level when I’m working from home. Below I’ve listed some Advantages and Disadvantages:

DISADVANTAGE: DISTRACTIONS

As I get older, I’m getting much better at keeping my focus and not making the mistake of putting on the TV or getting involved in personal projects. However, other distractions can come from unplanned places like children, spouses, neighbors ringing the doorbell, etc.  The only way I can effectively beat these odds and keep productive is to ensure that my wife and kids won’t be there to interrupt my day.

ADVANTAGE: NO DRIVE TIME

I discovered this recently and noticed a huge difference in my production. As of now, my average daily drive time is two hours. That’s two hours less sleep or two hours less family or two hours less me time. In addition to the drive time, add another hour for grooming time. If I don’t have to walk out all those steps, a few positive scenarios happen:

  • I can get more sleep. As Americans, none of us get enough sleep and I’m no exception. I average 5-6 hours a night–maximum.
  • I can get started sooner and either finish sooner or work longer.
  • I don’t take as many breaks. If I’m sitting in front of my home computer in my PJs, I have unlimited coffee and food available, I’m more relaxed and have a better overall peace around me. That calm demeanor produces positive results.
  • I’m more inclined to open my home office ‘after hours’ and get ahead of the next day’s work duties or catch up on anything I’m behind in.

DISADVANTAGE: STAYING CONNECTED

Yes, with e-mail, text and video conferencing, we can pretty much stay connected to our employers and employees anywhere we go. Unfortunately, while we can keep in contact, there is still a little bit of a disconnect when it comes to collaboration or team driven activities.

ADVANTAGE: CREATIVITY

As a creative person, when I feel pushed and someone is over my shoulders, my production slows down. I can use the task-driven side of my mind if I’m doing a specific job that requires very basic thinking and focuses on fast levels of production. But if I’m working in a career role where I need to invent and create, I do much better when I’m working in an environment that supports that. One of the biggest companies on the planet completely understands this principal. Google gives “employees plenty of time to play with their own ideas.” Seattle PI wrote. “Engineers are encouraged to spend up to twenty percent of their work hours (a full day per week) doing whatever they want – which can range from taking time off to pouring their hearts into projects they passionately believe in. The policy is rather part of a conscious effort to optimize creativity.”

 

In his Forbes piece, Craig applauded some distractions. He said working from home “you have the means to allow yourself minor distractions, whether it’s taking a walk around the block to clear your head or spending some time each day playing with your cat. Indulging in these distractions once in a while might actually work in your favor.”

Having worked from home almost once a week the last couple of months, I’ve noticed a change in my opinion on the subject as I’ve actually gotten more done on those days than I do when I’m at the office.

Something to think about!  Have a great day!

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