One thing that struck me while reading this interesting Guardian article by Phil Daoust about the rise in the number of people working from home were the figures claimed for the increases in productivity of organizations with telecommuting employees. Daoust cites BT’s claim that the productivity is on average 20 percent higher among its 10,000 employees working from home, while the AA (a British breakdown cover firm) says that when it decided to allow some of its call center staff to work from home, productivity rose by a third. The article also cites some (unnamed) American that studies claim that the productivity benefits of teleworking are between 30 and 40 percent. Impressive figures, but can all organizations implementing telework programs expect to see such productivity rises?
From my own perspective, I know that for certain tasks I am more productive working from home, as I find it easier to concentrate without the distractions present in an office: People interrupting you, office chit-chat, pointless meetings. Added to that is the fact that I don’t have to contend with a long, tiring commute. However, whenever I work from a coworking center — an office-like environment where I am frequently distracted by social interaction — I seem to be able to get through just as much work as I do from home. And for certain tasks (brainstorming, for example) I am much less productive working remotely. The claims of an up to 40 percent rise in productivity don’t really ring true from my experience. And for organizations that have seen such drastic increases in productivity, perhaps the figure indicates that there was something very wrong with the office environment or the management of those places.
I’m wondering if my experience is typical, and as many WWD readers work from home at least some of the time I was wondering what you thought: Have you seen drastic increases in productivity since you started working from home?
Related GigaOM Pro content (sub. req.): Enabling the Web Work Revolution