Almost any workplace is rife with distraction. Be it toxic, gossipy co-workers, a manager who can’t seem to stop micromanaging your every move, or even just the overwhelming feeling and realization that your life is slipping away encroaching every time you walk in the door, it can be hard to get busy. Employers want productive employees creating value — and if new data is any indication, the best way to facilitate that is to let employees work from home.
Though a work-from-home arrangement may seem like the perfect recipe for lost productivity, the numbers seem to prove otherwise. Your office may have its distractions, but almost any manager would have to assume that the distractions at your own home — be it a dog begging for attention, Fallout 4, or Game of Thrones — would be more overpowering.
Again, it doesn’t seem to be the case, according to a new survey from FlexJobs. That survey, which polled 3,100 professionals, found that only 7% claim to be on top of their game while working at the office, or employer-provided workspace. That means that all of the time and effort spent building out a space to facilitate productivity among employees is at least somewhat ineffective for 93% of the workforce.
It’s all about productivity
If more than 3,000 workers claim that their office or workplace is actually hindering their productivity, then it may be cause for some serious reevaluations on the part of employers. Luckily, FlexJobs managed to dig into the reasons behind workers’ fledgling levels of productivity.
The numbers show that 65% of these workers claim that they would be more productive working from home, and the top reason why — cited by 76% of those surveyed — was because they wouldn’t be bothered by colleagues. Roughly 75% also said that there would be “fewer distractions” in general, and majorities also said that fewer meetings, office politics, and no commute would all play into their ability to get more accomplished.
With this data in hand, it may be the perfect time to approach your boss and hammer out a work-from-home or telecommuting arrangement, if your position allows for it.
As for where employees think they would be more productive, as opposed to the office or employer-provided workspace? “More than half (51 percent) of people said that their home is their preferred place to work. Eight percent said they would choose a coffee shop, co-working space, library, or other place besides the office and another 8 percent would choose the office, but only outside regular hours,” FlexJobs’ brief says.
So, you have employees who are still willing to come into work, but only if the majority of their colleagues aren’t around. That’s telling.
How to work from home
If you truly want to figure out a way to work from home, the timing has never been better. With the FlexJobs data to back you up, approaching your manager or boss to at least breach the subject should be much easier. Still, many employers aren’t going to want to hear it — it can be difficult to let go and feel like you can’t keep an eye on your employees, particularly if you’re paying them hourly. You may want to start with a simple proposal to work from home one day a week and go from there.
There are many companies, jobs, and career paths that allow you to work remotely or telecommute. Obviously, there are some people who won’t be able to make it work (plumbers can’t plumb over the internet, after all), but there are many opportunities out there if you know where to look.
You’ll want to keep in mind, however, that not all of these remote jobs are fun or particularly rewarding. In numerous positions, you’ll still end up putting in hard hours, and may not see a very big paycheck for doing it. Choose wisely and be strategic in your thinking when trying to decide if you want to switch up your working arrangement.
Being productive may come easier away from the office, but depending on your own workflow, and your ability to persuade your manager to loosen the leash, you may or may not be able to give it a shot.