Does This Stat Show IBM was Wrong about Telecommuting

Rich Tehrani : Communications and Technology Blog - Tehrani.com
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Does This Stat Show IBM was Wrong about Telecommuting

7% or less than 2 out of 25 workers feel productive in the office during normal business hours According to a recent FlexJobs survey on remote work. 66% of professionals believed that they would be more productive if they worked remotely.

The reasons cited in favor of remote work? 76% wanted "fewer interruptions from colleagues and fewer distractions," 70% sought to "reduce stress from commuting," and 69% preferred to avoid "office politics."

How do these stats square with the strategy changes by companies like Yahoo and IBM to move people back into the office? Without passing judgement - in both of these cases the companies faced tough competition and weren't performing up to expectations so maybe a change was made in the hopes of an improvement.

Perhaps these two cases are outliers.

When we look at the stat regarding 76% of people wanting less interruptions and distractions, how does this align with the move to the open office environment? Which is all the rage.

It doesn't. Why then are we building open environments if just 7% feel productive in them? We don't necessarily have the answers to these questions but we wonder if corporate America is just throwing things against a wall in the hopes of something sticking.

"Hmm, we're having trouble keeping the millennials from quitting, lets try an open floor plan." Could it be the younger people in the office are able to cope with open space better to those accustomed to cubes or offices? Certainly, we have written that research shows this is the case - people who grow up multitasking can adapt to it as their brains adjust.

As always, over time, these sorts of things tend to work themselves out. For now though, we should watch carefully how the companies with open offices are performing. Does open office mean better or worse productivity?



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