There is quite a bit of debate about whether working from home is good or bad for productivity.
Are working-from-home employees as efficient as those in the office?
The jury is still out…. but perhaps we are asking the wrong question.
We need employees to be innovative and creative as well as, or even rather than, efficient.
Since many phases of the innovation process require the sharing of innovative and collaborative thinking, innovation is only likely to happen if close relationships and effective communication processes are maintained for those workers not in the office.
There can be advantages for home working – like less distraction and reduced energy lost to commuting. But the main loss is that of the casual conversation, the experimental thinking and informal co-operation that close contact brings.
Technology can replicate some of this – but not all of it and not for all people. It is too early to say but creativity may take a hit. Certainly firms need to be on the ball, monitoring the situation and checking that innovation levels are being maintained.
If not, they had better open the office to all.