Tuesday, February 12, 2013

More productive in Pajamas?

I'll admit that title is a bit off of the mark-during consultations I discourage people from working from home in the same clothes that they slept in on most days. But the statistics on the increased productivity of telework over 'office' work is staggering. One report on the Telework Research Network website says " According to the Telework Savings Calculator™, if those employees who held telework-compatible jobs (50% of the workforce) and wanted to work at home (79% of the workforce) did so just half of the time, it would increase national productivity by 5 million man-years or $270 billion worth of work annually".  $270 BILLION DOLLARS...

Those numbers are huge and I believe are at the least accurate, but more than likely much lower than reality. Why is productivity higher at home? Again, many articles and studies on this but I'm going to tell you why I think teleworkers are much more productive based on my experiences and those of my colleagues and friends.

More Sleep
Functioning without proper sleep has proven to be as dangerous as driving while intoxicated and over half of Americans don't get enough sleep. I consider more sleep as one of my top benefits of working from the basement. I sleep approximately two hours longer each night because I don't commute. I am one of those people who is far more focused, patient and pleasant when I've had enough sleep. When I worked in the city I had to factor an hour to an hour and a half of commute time each morning. I can now add that sleep back into my total. I also had to get up and get dressed for work in DC...which meant suits and pantyhose (yes, even in the summer time), make-up to last for hours, and hair that was coaxed and sprayed into submission for the long haul. While I do encourage people in my coaching sessions to dress every morning but one (another post on that later), I don't encourage them to dress to the level required of a professional job in an office. That saved me personally another 30 minutes or more.  Because I wasn't fighting traffic back home for 60-90 minutes each evening I ended my day more relaxed. That made falling asleep easier for me.

Extended  Work Day/Time
My office hours are between 8am and 5pm during the week. My morning routine is to get up, see my husband off (he still commutes), grab something to drink and a snack, watch a little morning news and head downstairs around 8ish.  If I'm awake earlier and the news is boring, I head into my office earlier. If the phone rings and I hear it at 7:45 I almost always answer it.  In the afternoon I have the same luxury. I can work as long as I'm in the zone because I don't have to worry about catching the train or heading out into the horrible traffic.  I also find it easier to get into the office on the weekend. I work so much more from home than I ever did in any office.

I just arrive at my office in such a better mood without the commute,or the weather, or the lack of sleep. I feel somehow less worn down by the process of getting to work. And since I know I'll arrive back 'home at the end of the day in a better mood as well, my attitude about my work seems a bit lighter. None of that is to say that I had a bad attitude in an office or that I dread going out to meet with clients or teach, but on a day to day basis, I enjoy my work more because of the convenience of teleworking and that enjoyment translates into higher productivity. I also believe that parents with younger children also feel less stressed about the time they're working when they feel they have more control over their time. Again, with an extra 30 minutes to two hours depending on where you live and how far it is to your office recovered, you don't feel as stressed away from your children and you still have a full work day. And for me, that extra two hours of sleep makes a huge difference in my attitude as well...just sayin.

Work Space Design
Not everyone has a spectacular office space designed by a professional in their home. I don't but I do have a great view of my backyard, access to all of my favorite snacks, and a cat to keep me company. I have a tiny sock monkey and a dog figurine painted by my six year old niece on my desk. I have a fireplace and a couch. I can pace when I talk on the phone and put my feet on my desk when I'm listening to webinars. My space is comfortable for me and I am most productive when working within a comfortable environment.

I'm sure there are many other reasons for increased productivity at home but these are the ones that I feel most benefit me. What do you feel contributes to your productivity at home or at the other office?


1 comment:

Blondie said...

When I worked from home, I always had traffic getting to my office...a cat in my way!

Geat post, Jeanne!