Research: knowledge workers are more productive from home

For many years, we have sought to understand and measure the productivity of knowledge workers, whose inputs and outputs can’t be tracked in the same way as a builder, shelf-stacker, or call center worker. Knowledge workers apply subjective judgment to tasks, they decide what to do when, and they can withhold effort (by not fully engaging their brain) often without anyone noticing. This make attempts to improve their productivity very difficult. In this 2013 HBR article, we presented research showing that knowledge workers spend two-thirds of their time in meetings or doing desk-based work, even though they found these activities mostly tiresome. We proposed some steps people could take to shift time to more worthwhile activities, such as talking to customers or coaching subordinates. Of course, we all get stuck in patterns of activity reinforced by the routines of office life. Read more at Harvard Business Review.