Does working from home make you more productive? Yes (with data)!

Here’s a chart:

<p>
  <img src="http://chart.apis.google.com/chart?chtt=wfh+vs.+wfw&chts=000000,12&chs=800x300&chf=bg,s,ffffff%7Cc,s,ffffff&chxt=x,y&chxl=0:%7CTotal%7CDev%7CComm%7CProductive%7CDistracting%7CNeutral%7C1:%7C0.00%7C329.00%7C658.00&cht=bvg&chd=t:100.00,43.61,33.89,82.52,10.94,6.38%7C88.44,34.04,34.19,76.59,9.27,2.43&chdl=WFH%7CWFW&chco=009933,003366&chbh=35" alt="" />
</p>

<p>
  It doesn’t look like much, but 5 people logged an extra 75 hours in a month, with the vast majority of those extra hours being productive development or design hours (about 63 extra dev/design hours were logged in the working from home month).
</p>

<h3>
  How we FELT
</h3>

<p>
  Obviously, working from home isn’t just about the hours logged.  When talking to the team, feelings on the experiment were pretty mixed:
</p>

<ul>
  <li>
    Most people felt like we weren’t working as hard from home and it felt like a better work/life balance.  Turns out we were working a fair bit harder, but the time reclaimed made it feel more relaxing.
  </li>
  <li>
    The team felt a bit less energized…  The synergy that you get when people are bouncing around ideas is pretty cool– we had a bit less of that (though we had wednesday lunches that helped a bit here).
  </li>
  <li>
    People worked odd hours.  Working from the office forces you into the 8-6 mode and makes it awkward to tune out in the afternoon if your heart just isn’t in it.  Conversely, when you put in your 9+ hours at work, you’re a lot less inclined to work in the evening (even if you were spinning your wheels all day).  I think it’s better to work when you feel like it than to force an artificial schedule.
  </li>
  <li>
    People were lonely, but dealt with it.  We all joked how excited we were to see our wives when they got home.  I personally made a much greater effort to be social with friends.  This was a lot better than the “I just want to get home and veg out” instinct that I tend to have after a long day at work.
  </li>
</ul>

As someone who has worked mostly from a home office for the last couple of years, this post provided the data behind much of my experience.

The toughest part about working out of your house is maintaining a work-life balance. I’d say that is hard enough in today’s always-on world. Then imagine your office being steps away from where you eat, sleep, and relax.

I’ll likely revisit this topic in the future because I think there are a number of ways (some of which are mentioned above) to better create that balance and be able to turn off work even when still in the office.