Interesting post today where Steve King at Small Business Labs asks Is The Traditional Office the Least Productive Place to Work? He cites professional research and uses clear logic. But I still think there’s a catch.
He starts with surveys indicating that people who work in coworking locations say they are more productive than working at home.
Which he follows with surveys indicating that people report working at home is more productive than working in company offices.
Which he takes to this conclusion:
This suggests that the least productive place to work is a traditional office.
But wait — coworking is working in an office with people who aren’t part of the same team, right? So working in an office is more productive than working at home, but only if those around you aren’t part of the same team? What’s wrong with this picture? I know and like Steve King and he’s a professional researcher, so it’s not a problem with the research. But could it be …
- People often answer surveys with the answer that makes them feel best about themselves and the choices they’ve made, so the home office worker is compelled to claim productivity and the coworking office worker is too, but the traditional office worker isn’t? That might explain the research.
- And for that matter, how well does any of us really evaluate our own productivity in different situations? I’m going to claim to be most productive at the place I most like to be.
- And productivity by location is an entirely new concept over the last few years. Even in the office, I’m located where my attention is pointing. I might look like I’m in the office in a traditional office mode when I’m on Twitter or instant messenger with my mind entirely out of the office, chatting with friends. And if, in that moment, a survey taker asks me about it, I’m going to say I’m really productive right there.
What do you think?