The Win of Working From Home

Executives continue to question if collaboration, productivity and innovation will suffer from remote work. We see that business owners and employees have settled into the “new normal,” and most professionals are excelling while working from home.

Uninterrupted Interruptions

In traditional office life, interruptions continually bombarded employees disrupting concentration, reducing productivity, and increasing stress. Researchers at the University of California, Irvine, found that the typical office worker is interrupted or switches tasks almost every three minutes. And it can take over 23 minutes to get back to where they left off. Author Jonathan estimated that interruptions and information overload eat up 28 billion wasted hours a year, at a loss of almost $1 trillion to the U.S. economy.

The Covid-19 pandemic thrust us into working from home, and in the beginning, we dealt with even more interruptions from endless zoom calls, supervisor check-ins, and family needs. The drastic change was shocking, but over time we all adapted.

One and Won

According to a recent study conducted by Harvard Business School, one-third of those surveyed felt their overall work productivity and quality had increased, and one-third reported that they felt better able to focus.

Of course, working from home does not eliminate interruptions and the pinging of instant messages, but remote work can give employees more control over their time. Especially without a commute to an office, employees feel the seeming luxury of uninterrupted time to sit, think creatively, and have their solo ideation.

When employees bring their independent thinking into meetings, they can expand their ideas and work with others to apply a broader context. The discussions can even lead to a more collaborative atmosphere.

Homework is Working

Many business executives were worried about the loss of collaboration and innovation, but despite the trauma of COVID-19, over-time many professionals adjusted to their new work setup. In the same survey as above, 50% of employees said that collaboration did not decrease with remote work.

However, I am also seeing that we might be overstating the risk of losing out on a multitude of encounters that fostered unexpected cross-pollination of ideas and innovation. In reality, office life is often siloed by floor and department. With your teams spread out in different suites and on different floors, employee interactions were already limited.

We have more digital tools than ever to facilitate effective collaboration. These tools do not negate the need to really get to know and understand employees. There are many innovative and effective ways for remote workers to stay connected and feel involved. At Soteria HR, help our clients integrate best practices of collaboration tools in ways that make people feel comfortable sharing and building professional relationships.

The transformation of work has altered many of our expectations and perspectives. Actually, a little interruption from your child giving you a kiss or your cat snuggling up on your lap may be a much welcome interruption that can lend just the right amount of motivation and comfort you need to crush your next project.


Samantha Harwood