A recent survey of nearly 100,000 employees by one of our clients found that most respondents agreed with the statement, ‘I could be more productive if I was able to work more from home’, and there were many constituencies where the proportion was well over 90%.
The obvious advantages of home working cited in surveys relate to less commuting and increased wellbeing from the freedom to choose how and when to work, but I wonder if there is a more subtle benefit that has not found expression?
The other studies I have reviewed record similar enthusiasm for home working, and the last six months have forced organisations to take a view. Some have embraced policies at either end of the office/home spectrum, but most seem to be settling somewhere in the middle, for a mix of both office and home working.
Home working might be revealing the hidden introvert in us, which is so difficult to respect in our open plan offices. At home we can often banish undesirable stimulation, and make a quiet space, for a useful amount of time. Greater productivity can come from fewer interruptions and more opportunities to concentrate.
I don’t think we will discover that there are more introverts in the world than we previously thought, but there is plenty of evidence that more reflective behaviour might be good for business, as well as the employee.
If we have rediscovered the positive aspects of solo working, then it is a good reason to encourage working at home where it can be accommodated, but what about the office?
How much should a central workplace be converted into a facility for unfettered socialising and collaboration?