In the last decade, the work-from-home population has grown over 29.4% since 2005, and the telecommuting trend has grown 80% since then, according to Global Workplace Analytics.
But just because something is a popular trend does not mean that it’s the right fit for everybody. Working from home can have some serious downfalls; one of the most prevalent of those downsides being the loss of productivity that can occur. Before deciding to move your traditional office life into your home life – Read the three main reasons listed below on why it can be easy to unwittingly decrease your production abilities when working at home.
1. The isolation factor
People in the ongoing debate about whether standard business offices are more or less productive than working from home, profess that because one doesn’t have a daily 9 to 5 deadline at the home office, it is easier to lose production time; no matter how many hours are spent in front of the computer. Being around your other coworkers shuffling and bustling through the office, all intent on finishing for the day in order to leave for home on time, adds an air of motivation that working alone at a residential home just can’t compete with. Quiet time has its merits in a busy and sometimes overly crowded, noisy office, but the overly quiet home office tends to be way too silent for allot of workers.
There is nothing like the feeling of accomplishment one gets from being a team player and sharing in the company’s successes with their coworkers. Milestones at the home office can be just as exhilarating, but the party of one at home is still no emotional match to sharing the glory with a group of working office associates. The constructive feedback and peer advice that is prevalent in a standard office setting is also lacking in the home office environment. One thing that the traditional office provides that is vital to production, is employee human interaction. Idea sharing and problem solving are both key factors in helping to connect with fellow coworkers in order to stimulate higher production rates.
Yahoo’s CEO, Marissa Mayer, stated the absence of employee collaboration within its telecommuting employees as part of her rationale for ending working remotely as an option with the company. Modern companies, especially Tech businesses, are based on high innovation and employee collaboration in their everyday office routine. They usually intentionally promote the two highly productive working techniques by designing in, and incorporating in, an open space, communal workplace, with plenty of interactive environments included. Break-time lounges and closely seated cafeteria lunch settings are also provided in order to bring employees collaboratively together in a mentally stimulating way. All of these time-tested productive traits, “fly out of the worker’s window” at the solitary home office.
2. The distractions of home-sweet-home
The work culture is very different between working from home, and working from a standard office building. Daily interferences tend to happen in the home office that can quickly become out of hand, culminating together into overwhelmingly anti-productive distractions. Children, spouses, dogs, cats, neighbors, UPS, and Jehovah Witnesses, all seem to converge at the most inopportune times in order to stop one’s concentration, offset their train of thought, and distract them from their productivity goal for the day. This fact also encouraged other companies besides Yahoo to deny the work-at-home trend to their employees by also banning the practice.
Newfound, at home workers, will find that since there was no escape from life’s daily chores, obligations, errands, and drop in’s when at home before; there will still be no escape when they are right in the middle of a project or contract that is close to deadline. There is an emotional strength in numbers at the traditional office building that naturally promotes an employee’s ambition, enhances their motivations, and instills competition in the workplace. Unfortunately, the personal home office, no matter how sophisticated and equipped, just cannot seem to come close to matching the old-school business office for productivity.
3. The potential lack of good self-management
Being a good manager is a difficult, meticulous, and ever diligent task. Management has to plan, assign, and network a project, while also having to check up periodically on their subordinates in order to ensure things are going smoothly. They also help troubleshoot problems when things are not going smoothly at all. When employees start working from home, some find out quickly how much they under appreciated their manager’s expertise and abilities. Especially when having to deal with the dueling roles of being both boss and employee. Poor management equals poor profit margins, which, unfortunately, when one is acting as their own boss, the loss comes directly out of the main project employee’s pockets – namely theirs if they’re self-employed and/or freelancing the work involved. Any lapse in self-discipline and an inferior work culture will absolutely hinder, or in worse case scenarios, absolutely decimate a worker’s productivity factor at home.
One might tend to lose their competitive edge when left out of the loop of the daily 9 to 5 rat race. Standard office politics and ongoing competition for upcoming promotion openings enhance ambition. It doesn’t sound too glamorous when put in the above context, but as everyone has heard from one time or another, “Competition can be a healthy thing when put in the right perspective” – Meaning, that people get lazy and lose their edge without it. One of the greatest threats to being one’s own boss, and single productive employee, is becoming complacent in one’s own little world at a residential home office; and thus risk forgetting the rules to success of the company shark tank they once swam in.
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