Stay at home, get more done
Yesterday saw chaos on the railways in the UK, as train operators struggled to handle the new timetables they themselves had introduced. Commuters in news reports expressed anger about how their working days were disrupted by trains that never turned up.
Also yesterday, I met up for coffee with a former colleague who is currently assessing her future career plans. For her, it’s important to have a role where she can travel and not be chained to a desk in the same office every day. We discussed how too many employers put an emphasis on being in the office all day, every day.
As someone who has largely worked from home for nearly a decade, I find the times I am in an office useful for two things: team creativity, and bonding with colleagues.
If you’re building an early-stage product or planning a big project, nothing beats being in the same room and bouncing ideas off each other. And if you never meet your colleagues, it can be difficult to build useful working relationships.
But when it comes to just getting things done, offices can be hives of distraction. Office chatter, people stopping by your desk for 10 minutes to ask a question they could have sent via Slack, people bringing a cake in and causing everyone to down tools for half an hour while they eat… it all eats into productivity.
A well-motivated person can get a lot more done on their own at home than in an office. Sure, it’s not for everyone – some people thrive with others around them, and some jobs just can’t be done remotely. But if managers trust their employees, and learn the subtleties of managing a remote workforce (I should write about that sometime!), they might find that their team’s productivity increases.
…and those train timetable woes won’t be such a big news story.