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Working productivity at home versus at dedicated work place

  1. Mar 10, 2016 #1

    aa

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    I think it would be of value to get people's
    estimates out there.

    What would you say is the productivity when working at home
    versus at a dedicated work setting?

    (For data: my home is in a suburb. There are 0..2 infants/
    toddlers present and 1..3 other adults present. We have a
    nice
    back yard. There is not TOO much noise pollution, or air
    pollution. The weather is good.)

    I say my productivity is 30% to 40% for not too hard work:
    for example, reading a textbook where the brain must look up
    the words. For the highest quality work, which is like a
    teetering stack of concepts that grows, and where an interr
    uption to working memory can cause the whole thing to topple,
    the productivity is 0%.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 10, 2016 #2

    Hepth

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    Gold Member

    If I stay home from work during the day its near 0-10%.
    If I instead go to a coffee shop its around 100% for the first few hours, then dies quickly after lunch.
    If I go to work its about 100% by definition.
    If I get home from work and get on my laptop at night I can perform at what feels like 150%, but only yields about 30%.

    The nature of the work is probably 70/30 math/programming split.
     
  4. Mar 11, 2016 #3
    I worked out of my house for a time as a technical sales rep for plastics additives. I can assure you there was a lot of slack time. Darn salesmen :smile:
     
  5. Mar 11, 2016 #4
    It depends on the work itself.
    Either way you have to show your commitments.
    It is a common misconception to think that working at home is always better. You have to show how you calculate your productivity, on what ground and with what formula, the same as your comparison made with working in office on a 7-9 hourly basis i.e in term of what.
    I'd prefer to work at home but my home should be in the city. I can't stand the dull atmosphere of the "suburb" or countryside, I will sleep more than work otherwise.
     
  6. Mar 12, 2016 #5

    aa

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    I much appreciate the responses, which I found
    interesting and very interesting. Thank you.
     
  7. Mar 12, 2016 #6

    Maylis

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    Gold Member

    I feel I am much less productive when working from home. When I study, I would go to the library just to get myself focused. For some reason, I psychologically need to be somewhere with less distraction (the fridge is the biggest culprit)
     
  8. Mar 12, 2016 #7

    Jonathan Scott

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    Gold Member

    The effectiveness of working from home obviously depends on the nature of the work, and whether you need to work with other people on it, especially if you need help or you will be providing help to others. It also depends on how effectively you can set up a physical and mental environment for working at home (including a suitable location and the self-discipline to keep focus on the right things).

    I've spent most of my life working on complex software design and development (writing middleware and systems software for IBM mainframes), which involves a lot of working on my own. For each project, I've usually been the lead programmer, and I have usually started by designing the overall structure then splitting it into chunks with well-defined interfaces, and passing the interface definitions to anyone else who needed to write code which would interface with my own code, so we didn't need to work together much. I also carefully write up the externals of anything I'm working on myself so that others in a team can work from that and the writers can incorporate the documentation into the official publications with minimal editing.

    For much of that time I was in a one-man office and able to work very productively at work. When it became a two-man office, there were distractions and I found it necessary to spend some time at home, especially when working on deep design. When I got moved to open-plan, my productivity at work was impacted so much by distractions and interruptions that I could no longer do effective design and development work there (although it was much more fun socially), so I switched to working at the office only two days each week, mainly to attend regular status meetings and be seen to exist, but not to get much work done. I have always had a "study" at home for working (and for studying), where I could work with very little interruption even when the kids were young and the wife was at home looking after them. I also usually had very flexible hours, in that I had a project and an agreed schedule but if I felt I'd reached a good milestone for the day I could finish early.

    Unfortunately I'm no longer in design and development. Because of my very wide experience in mainframe products, it seems I was the ideal person to be moved into supporting about a dozen older IBM software products (initially as a "temporary" job when a critical person was too ill to continue), and I'm now a member of a two-person team where I'm in the UK and the other person is in California, and we both report to a manager in Texas who reports to a manager in Toronto. There is now very little point in my going anywhere near the office (even though I still have a desk mainly to keep my extensive archives) as no-one else there is involved in anything related to the same job, so I only visit perhaps once a month or less. However, as work is very intermittent, I frequently end up with all current activities blocked awaiting action from others, or even no support work at all, and I really hate that. If it were up to me, I feel it would be perfectly fair to treat any time when I have no support work as free time for me to study physics or do some practice on the violin and piano, but management feel I should normally be making use of at least part of any time like that for "self-education" or similar, so for example I've learned the essentials of about 15 more programming languages, most of which I'm sure I'll never use (along with most of the 100 or so I've previously learned). As far as I'm concerned, all that does is prevent me using the time for myself, and I'm looking forward to when I can afford to retire.
     
  9. Mar 12, 2016 #8

    aa

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    That is a travesty and shows the unfortunateness of working
    with people (as your bosses) who are less intelligent than
    you.
     
  10. Mar 12, 2016 #9

    Jonathan Scott

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    Gold Member

    I'd be more understanding there; it would be a very enlightened manager in a large corporation who would actually say on record that I could use my working hours to do non-work activities when waiting for updates or similar, and it was good that my current management only expected me to do these self-education activities or similar for a part of my "spare" time, not all of it.

    I've just realised that I haven't checked again with my new manager as of a few days ago, although I'm not very hopeful.
     
  11. Mar 12, 2016 #10

    aa

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    True.
     
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