Main image of article Is Remote Work Killing Technologists' Productivity?

Within many companies, remote work—or at least some kind of flexible work—is regarded as the future. Executives are openly considering whether they need to keep spending money on office space, while technologists are debating whether they need to keep living close to their company headquarters. At this crucial juncture, it’s worth studying whether technologists feel working from home makes them more productive—or less.

Unfortunately, technologists at some of the nation’s largest tech companies feel like remote work is making their productivity decline. That data comes from Blind, which anonymously surveys technologists on a regular basis. At some tech giants, such as Facebook and Microsoft, more than half of those surveyed think that remote work is productivity-killing. Here’s the full breakdown: 

Overall, some 48 percent of respondents said their productivity had decreased. Square topped that particular list, with 73 percent claiming decreased productivity. Meanwhile, 70 percent of those at Twitter said that remote work had increased their productivity—good thing the company announced that it plans to go to a fully remote model

Some caveats here: The sample size at some companies was rather small (under a dozen at a few, such as Tesla). That being said, the relative productivity of those working from home has been a general concern within the tech industry since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some studies have suggested that working from a home office kills productivity, while others have come to the opposite conclusion

Actual productivity while working from home, as you might expect, ultimately comes down to the individual. The key, as with so many things, is frequent communication with your team members and manager about deadlines and what needs to get done. If you feel overwhelmed with work, you and your manager need to sit down and discuss workloads and priorities. If you think your productivity is slipping because your team isn’t efficiently dealing with bottlenecks, that’s worth a meeting.

Burnout also has a huge negative impact on productivity. To avoid it, you should think about setting a firm schedule (including times when you can and can’t be reached by colleagues), defining your workloads and deliverables well in advance of deadlines, and getting enough sleep and exercise.

Despite the inevitable challenges that arise with remote work, survey data suggests that a significant percentage of technologists enjoy it. In sentiment surveys conducted by Dice over the summer, a small but noticeable number of them even said they’d be willing to take a pay cut to work remotely rather than commuting into an office every day. Whatever your feelings about it, it’s clear that remote and flexible work are here to stay.