Whole Living Daily

Where Are You Most Productive: At Work or At Home?

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Photo courtesy of Johan Larsson http://www.flickr.com/photos/johanl/

Do you work better in a bustling office or in the quiet of your own home? It’s an ongoing debate. Even in today’s connected world, many managers still want office “face time” from their people, and may be hesitant to adopt this work-when-you-want, where-you-want approach. 

Case in point: In the wake of massive snowstorms in early 2010, The US Federal Government decided that, despite management resistance and security concerns, to let snowed-in employees telecommute.  (Read more: Telework cuts federal government losses during DC area snowstorms.)

I’ve been working from my home for the last four years and I’m just as productive as I was when working from a corporate office.  Okay, yes, I get distracted from time to time by the laundry or other household errands, but for me, working when I am “in the mood” is most productive.  If I feel compelled to do other things than sit at my desk, I don’t beat myself up over it.  I do what needs to be done, and then I’m ready to work.

I'm hardly alone in my pro-home-office stance. Earlier this fall, worldwide technology firm Cisco released results of a global workforce study.  Sixty percent of the 2600 respondents from 13 different countries said they did not need to work from an office to be productive.  In fact, many said they worked 2-3 hours a day more when given the flexibility to work from anywhere. (And yes, it has been brought to my attention that Cisco is a company that provides such services for employees, so they do have a vested interest. Still, I think the study is compelling.)

So what’s most productive for you?

Office v. Home Productivity Factors to Consider:

--Access.  Can you access all the information you need to do your job from outside the office?  Unfortunately, the CISCO study also revealed that almost half of IT departments are not equipped to provide “from anywhere” data or systems access.  Check with your employer’s IT department to understand your options.

--People.  Do you need to collaborate with others to get your job done?  If everyone is in the same location, it’s probably easier for you to work out of the office with everyone else.  However, if your team is dispersed, you can just as easily work from anywhere.

--Cost. Leasing office space costs money. If full-time space is not necessary, doing away with it can result in a boost to the bottom-line. Then again, for some people, being around other people may help them become more focused. If this is important to you, an office isn’t the only answer.  A local library or Starbucks can be a viable rent-free option as well.

It’s obvious I am a proponent of work from home/work from anywhere.  However, not everyone agrees with me. Last week on Whole Living host Terri Trespicio and I debated the merits of working from home v. the office.  We’d love for you to weigh in with your comments here!

Maggie Mistal is a certified career & life purpose coach and the host of "Making a Living with Maggie," which airs every Friday at 4 p.m. ET on Martha Stewart Living Radio, Sirius 112, XM 157. Please visit her website at MaggieMistal.com.

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