More Productive Outside the Office

Where are you most productive? Is it really in a cube farm?

I know I feel the way Jason Fried of 37Signals describes it in his TEDxMidwest talk: that by going into the office to work I’m trading my work day “for a series of work moments.” Creative workers (including instructional designers) do best with uninterrupted time to work, something in short supply in the office.

I’m fortunate to work in an office where I have the option to work from home several days a week, with a project manager who understands that I’m more productive when I do.

What about you? Do you find yourself more productive when you work from home, or are you better off with the physical separation between work and personal life? Do you have any tips for being more productive when you are in the office and dealing with interruptions?

6 thoughts on “More Productive Outside the Office

  1. last year whilst in the midst of a harsh winter people across the UK were not able to get into their offices. It made me think about the amount of office space that is not used across the whole year and how many companies are not set up for remote/virtual working. A year ago we were ready to go and also had an office. As I set in my home office with another harsh winter hitting the UK our full virtual office continues to work with no problems – everyone continues to work, in their own environment. It works really really well.

  2. I tweeted this article because it really struck home. In previous jobs, I’ve always exponentially preferred working from home or a coffee shop, for all the reasons that Jason describes. I recently started working for OpenSesame, where I have not experienced that kind of frustration at all though. What’s different that works for me in our office?

    We all sit in one room, but we often IM each other or email each other to avoid interrupting trains of thought and workflow. We rarely have formal meetings, but instead have informal discussions. I think we have all the benefits of a collaborative learning environment without the formal “office” trappings that can be so distracting.

  3. Scott, your point about inclement weather is an excellent one. Weather that would seriously disrupt a traditional office environment hardly makes a dent in a virtual office.

    Kelly, you bring up one of Jason’s “M&Ms”: meetings. That’s part of why your office environment works. I suspect that you do pretty well on the first “M” too, that your manager mostly trusts you to do your job without micromanaging you. I doubt you’d have the freedom to avoid most formal meetings without the managerial support.

  4. My job has recently started to include a lot of Web-site work. Given my hour+ long commute into the Bronx every day, my employer has seen the logic in allowing me to work from home one day a week.

    Given the nature of the work and the fact that I have collaboration tools such as DimDim (also see “GoToMeeting”), Skype, and good-ol e-mail, it makes no sense for me to loose hours of time and burn $$$’s in gas and tolls by commuting every day.

    My role has recently changes to include instructional design work as well. Although I have a teaching / training background, I’m new to instructional design and will be following your posts with great interest (I’ve already browsed your series on how to get into the field…very nice).

  5. I honestly believe that it is imperative that people find their most productive work styles. For me, I do a combination of work and home offices. Sometimes I need to be in an office environment but mostly when I have new ideas, I need to work on them alone.
    Thank you for the tips, keep it up!!

  6. Yeah, also work from my office and after that i work again from home. And i know there a lot of ideas when i work at home, Especially where no people around. The video inspire me also, thanks.

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