Productivity at the Office vs. at Home

I’ve never held a position in which I completed all job responsibilities from home.  Sure, I’ve spent a day off working from home here and there, as I was waiting for the cable company or some other outside factor that prevented me from physically being at the office.  On those days, I focused rather well and completed all tasks that I needed. The setback for me was simply missing out on general office/business conversations, new ideas, and other discussions that took place among co-workers. I felt out of the loop while being at home, even though I was connected via phone and email. Then again, I quickly finished every task as I sat in my empty, quiet house.

High productivity in telecommuting stems from the actual job responsibilities and the environment that employees have within their homes to do the work. Many positions require independent work, which can easily be achieved from home given the right atmosphere required equipment. Most who hold these types of positions have everything they need within their homes to succeed.
Can productivity levels achieved from home truly compare to those achieved in an office setting outside the home?  
As someone who’s never held a position with the telecommuting perk, I can’t provide a personal opinion. What I can attest to is that sometimes, the office isn’t the best place to work in terms of getting things done. There are distractions (chatty co-workers, long and unproductive meetings, etc.) that can get in the way of accomplishing tasks.  Similarly, the home has its own slew of distractions and downsides as well. There are clear pros and cons to each situation, and Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s decision to eliminate employee telecommuting starting this June has many discussing the topic.
Occasionally, we interview candidates who prefer the flexibility telecommuting has to offer, as they have held/are holding a position which allows them the ability to work from home. While it’s at times difficult to locate these positions, they do exist. Will other companies begin to follow Mayer’s new policy at Yahoo now that the story has caught international attention? Will Yahoo greatly improve its products and services following the June 2013 change?  We’ll have to wait and see – whether from our homes or our desks at the office.

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