I have a good amount of friends and associates who work from home. In an emergency situation, my current client via Improving allows for employees to work from home through VPN, which I’ve had to do a few times. I’ve worked on my various side projects both from home and from coffee shops. With all this experience, I feel I now have a firm grasp on why this is a big deal on both sides of the fence.
On one hand, the person who works from home has a lot of advantages. They don’t have to travel far to start working. They don’t have to use gas or wear down their car. They don’t have to spend much time and money to get lunch and breakfast. They can control many aspects of their environment, like temperature and seat comfort. They can modify their work space as they see fit.
On the other hand, it’s more difficult for others to see what you’re working on. There are more distractions, like television and games and pets. Communication amongst coworkers can be more difficult and less personal. Socialization, or ‘water-cooler talk’, can be lessened. Family members can be disruptive to flow if not properly briefed. It can also be tough for some who tend to over-work, as they won’t have much indication of when to quit.
With both sides in mind, I find that working from home can work out very well if handled properly. I found that working on my side projects on the same PC that I also play games on was not a good idea, as I became easily distracted. A briefing with my family was necessary (and a locked door and headphones helped too). A dedicated office or work area with minimal distractions is great. Keeping constant communication with relevant team members about what you’re picking up and what you’ve finished helps minimize miscommunications. Going to lunch with friends on a regular basis helps keep socializing morale high. Also, implementing a timing system like Pomodoro can help keep track of work.
Although I believe this post won’t change too many minds on the subject, I hope it will give both employees and managers some ideas to implement and put some worries to rest.
Thanks for reading!