The pandemic caused dramatic workplace shifts, including a huge rise in remote work. This raises the question: is working from home as productive as working from an office?
In fact, The Economist reports that the number of employees working from home skyrocketed from 5% before the pandemic to a staggering 60% in March 2020. And with this monumental change, the productivity of working from home has become a big topic of conversation.
As the professional world works to determine where we go from here, one of the big things that is being evaluated is working from home vs. office productivity and which is better for their business.
To weigh in on this conversation, we took a look at what the current data and trends are telling us.
Here’s what we found.
How Productive Is Working From Home?
Though there’s some debate on working from home vs. office productivity, recent studies show that working from home has proven to be very productive for many people.
Aggregated research has indicated that 60% of workers were more productive than they expected to be while working from home. Meanwhile, only 14% said they got less done.
A recent BusinessWire study compared productivity levels from the first months of pandemic-led work from home to the same period one year prior. They found that there was a 47% increase in productivity during this time, attributed to remote workers. This increased level of work from home productivity is related to reduced or eliminated commutes, fewer distractions, and more flexible schedules.
Based on these studies, it’s clear that working remotely can increase productivity. However, not everyone enjoys working from home or will experience work from home productivity benefits.
Since the initial spike in productivity in 2020, some employees have been feeling the impacts of loneliness and isolation, causing their productivity to decrease. This is why a hybrid model—part-time in the office and part-time at home—and coworking spaces are becoming popular options.
The Benefits of Working From Home
Productivity isn’t the only plus side to working from home. It offers a ton of other potential benefits, including:
- Elimination of the daily commute, which saves time and money.
- Increased flexibility and control over your schedule.
- Greater autonomy over projects by nature of working independently.
- The ability to attend to personal issues as they arise (i.e. looking after children, cooking a meal, or going to an appointment).
Employees love working from home because it allows them to make better use of their personal time and enjoy a better work-life balance.
The Downsides of Working From Home
For all of the benefits that come with working from home, there are some undeniable challenges that arise from it as well.
- When you work where you live, it blurs the lines between work and personal time, making it harder to fully disconnect when the day is done.
- Decreased social interaction and teamwork can be tolling on team dynamics and can create feelings of isolation in employees.
- Some employees experience lower motivation when they’re working without a team surrounding them.
- Less “water cooler talk” and socialization working from home.
These challenges are also one of the big reasons why remote professionals are increasingly seeking new office arrangements, including coworking spaces, to help counteract any negative implications of working from home.
Company Culture Influences Remote Work Productivity
There are many factors that determine working from home vs office productivity. And, while it may seem surprising given the fact that remote work creates physical and hypothetical distance between employees, company culture can actually have a big effect on remote productivity.
This presents business leaders with the unique new challenge of creating a strong company culture without actually having their teams in the office together.
But the big question is this: what can you actually do to maintain a strong remote company culture?
Great Place to Work ran a productivity study that polled remote employees and asked them open-ended questions about what makes their company great. By analyzing the responses, they found these three comments repeated multiple times:
- “Catered lunches.”
- “Genuinely loved.”
- “Positive atmosphere.”
Catered lunches are a nice perk, but they also symbolize effort and care by the employer, which can help build a strong remote company culture. Together, these three factors speak to building a sense of belonging and community, despite being physically separate.
Working From Home and Maximizing Productivity
If you work from home and want to maximize productivity, consider implementing these tips:
- Create a dedicated workspace.
- Take your breaks and try to get outside.
- Connect with other people during the day.
- Organize your tasks and stay on top of your schedule.
And if you’re really struggling with productivity while working from home, consider trying a dedicated desk or coworking membership. Or, if you still need your own space but want to be surrounded by a professional community, you might benefit from a flexible private office space.
In recent years, coworking has been shown to boost your productivity through collaboration, networking, and work-life balance.
In the wake of one of the most turbulent times in modern history, working from home vs office productivity has become a widely contested and profoundly important topic.
And while there’s no one-size-fits-all formula for productivity, one thing’s for sure: companies of all sizes would be wise to keep an open mind to working from home and examine whether flexible work arrangements might actually benefit their employees and the business.
If you’re looking for a better way to work remotely in Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, or DC, book a tour of your local Launch Workplaces today.