A workforce that can perform at maximum efficiency is guaranteed to get you results in the long run, and the key to this is making sure your workforce is productive. Recent trends have shown more companies allowing their employees to work from home to help increase productivity levels.

Many people are indeed more productive when working from home, particularly if they are working to pressing deadlines or on a major project that requires large amounts of time and attention. But this is not to say that working from home suits everyone. Hewlett-Packard’s CEO Meg Whitman and Yahoo boss Marissa Mayer share the view that office environments lend themselves to collaboration, which can increase productivity amongst creative teams.

According to research from Dell Inc., 52% of people believe that those working from home are just as productive, or more productive than in the office. This research doesn’t take into account industries, but does give a general overview of how productivity at home looks vs in the office. The findings here suggest that productivity is almost a 50-50 split when it comes to working from home and working in an office; so what else could be taken into account?

Distractions

In the same research as before, Dell Inc. found that 84% of people who worked from home were not alone in the house, with the majority having a spouse or significant other at home with them. Now, in the office you will likely be surrounded by more than just a couple of people, and with everyone there for the same purpose distraction rates could be significantly higher. However, recent data from CV-Library suggests that those who work from home are happier and believe they have a better work-life balance (83%). This could be associated partly with the findings from Dell Inc. that 84% of people have others present in the house when they are working from home. Spending more time with loved ones will undoubtedly make people happier, which in turn leads to a more productive workforce.

In the office, you could be distracted by a number of people at different times throughout the day, whether this is in person, via email, or just to go and get a cup of tea. It can be very difficult to focus on one thing in the office, which can lead to a lot of people multitasking. Multitasking is a highly inefficient way of completing tasks and getting work done to deadlines, and costs marketing professionals alone 44 million working days due to lost time. It takes us on average 20 minutes to get back to a task after being interrupted according to a University of California-Irvine study, which means that if you are constantly interrupted in the office you are probably not being as productive as you could be.

Working from home

Working from home helps minimise interruptions from co-workers throughout the day, but it can also encourage employees to work longer hours. Without the commute time added on to their day, people will often start work earlier and finish at normal time, suggesting that people are more willing to work longer hours if they have the flexibility to do so from their own home.

Working from home allows people to focus on priority tasks without interruptions or other distractions which may be more of a factor in an office environment. To be successful working from home, however, you do need to be a self-starter, able to motivate yourself, and well-disciplined in terms of what breaks you take and how long these breaks are.

If you find that you work best in collaborative environments then offices might be better for you, where you can talk to colleagues frequently and work together towards to achieve your goals. A lot of working from home comes down to the person and role that they are in, and although more research needs to be conducted findings currently suggest that collaborative workers are more productive in office environments, and those with more straight-forward tasks might be more productive if they work from home.

By Alex Beynon, Website Administrator, Hunts Office