Working from the comfortable space of your living/study room or from your local coffee shop is an idea appealing to almost everyone. Is this sentiment of workers based on convenience or do they really work more effectively when isolated and uninterrupted in the comfort of their preferred working space?
The first thing to consider when thinking about employee’s productivity is his satisfaction. A happy worker is a productive worker. A FlexJobs survey of 3,100 professionals found that only seven percent reported they were most productive when working in the office.
The reasons for this are numerous: first of all, when working in an office environment, the environmental distractions are difficult to filter. Your colleagues’ chatter or constant questions distract your focus, and every time this happens, it takes about 11 minutes to bring the focus back. Secondly, the office politics is often the reason why people don’t particularly enjoy spending time in an office. If you add the waste of time spent commuting and sitting in endless meetings, it is clear why employees might be more focussed and happier working from somewhere else.
However, it is worth noting that some companies such as Yahoo or Best Buy ended their remote working options despite the obvious benefits. Their reasons were primarily the lack of control over whether the employees are actually performing better, and the loss of interaction with the team. It has been proven that conversations between employees in communal spaces can often be inspiring and provide platform for the invaluable knowledge sharing.
Both potential issues that employers have with their employees working remotely are addressed easily. Thanks to technology and having set measurable goals and targets, the worker’s performance is reviewable in even a more efficient manner than when he is sitting right next to you. This is because we spent so much time in the office just trying to focus that the actual time we will spend working is a lot less than when we are working uninterrupted. By setting clear goals, employers have an objective measure to see whether their employee is productive or not.
Secondly, with various virtual and electronic platforms, it is possible to nurture an inspiring environment where employees can engage on both professional and casual level. It surely takes a slightly different approach towards team work and the managers need to adapt their leadership style, but once this learning curve is handled, everyone benefits; the employers save money on overheads and have more satisfied employees, what means they are also more loyal and therefore more productive.