Sunday, 8 July 2012

What do you really do when you work from home?

What do you really do when you work from home?

A colleague is leaving us today to join his brothers company, whereby he'll be largely working from the comfort of his home.  Suffice to say the usual jokes have been going around that he'll be working in his pyjama's in between sessions of Jeremy Kyle watching.

With mobile technology making remote working more and more common is it worth revisiting that tired cliche, especially with the Olympics looming large and likely to encourage a great many of us to login from home rather than brave the travel mayhem due to hit London during the Games?

New research from Citrix aims to shed light on just what people do get up to when they work from home.  If you're not familiar with Citrix, it's a great application that lets you access all of your work files from your home computer.  So they'll have a pretty good idea of what people are doing when they work from home.

The Citrix research doesn't paint a great picture.  It suggests that 43% of home workers watch tv or even a movie, whilst 20% like to play video games whilst 'at work'.  When not under the peer pressure of the office another 24% will have a sneaky drink or two with another 26% having a snooze.

Here is the thing though.  Does that matter?  Go into any office and I guarantee you that people aren't going to be productive 100% of the time.  Time will be spent chatting to colleagues, making cups of tea, browsing the web or going for a cigarette.  And y'know, that's ok, because your employer isn't paying you to sit at your desk for x hours a day, they're paying you to get work done.  If you can deliver the results and performance expected of you whilst having a nap isn't that all that counts?  After all, lots of research has suggested a 30 minute nap makes you more productive, yet it's a brave person that'll try that in the office.

Jack M. Nilles, founder of management consulting firm, JALA International, says in an e-mail, “If an employee is doing the work and producing the desired results, what difference does it make if he/she includes a nap or cooking or a school play in the so-called work day?” He adds: “The whole point of teleworking, from the employee’s point of view, is the ability to fit one’s work into the rest of one’s life, not the other way around, as is the case in the ‘traditional’ office. The point of teleworking, from the employer’s point of view, is that its bottom-line benefits (productivity gains, space savings, employee retention, etc.) far exceed any feared risks of losses.”

Does it matter what people fit in around their work so long as the work gets done?  Do you currently work remotely?   (Check out the comments below ...) 

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