In a recent survey by Skype (and a follow up report on Mashable) it seems that Working from Home is becoming more and more acceptable and in some companies is even seen as an aid to productivity. In my employment history WFH has always been part of everyday working… in fact my first ever boss was actually a full-time homeworker.
There are many reasons I like working from home and these cover a broad range of benefits and to be honest I would certainly look to have “Working from Home” factored into any future employment contracts that I may move into. I may in fact even go so far as to say I’d have to think twice about taking on employment in an organisation that didn’t provide such a benefit.
So, what do I think the pros and cons are of working from home?
Let’s start with the downsides
Distractions : Yup, this can be an issue… especially when I first got the opportunity to work from home. It’s very tempting to have the TV on in the background but for me this meant my productivity plummeted. Of course there can be far bigger distractions, such as kids and spouses… these are probably harder to work around. In these latter cases it might be worth looking into Shed Working instead.
Lack Of Contact : If you’re job doesn’t involve much interaction then its not too uncommon to go a bit crazy and get cabin fever. I find that the increasing amount of social circles such as Facebook and Twitter though have certainly helped me feel me like I’m part of a crowd even when sitting at my desk at home… all by myself.
Drawing the line : Here I’m referring to the line between working hours and non-working hours. With work only be a room away it’s easy to start earlier and finish later… it can be tough sometimes to get out of the “work” mindset when you’re at home. I have heard that some home-workers actually dress for work and wear shoes during working hours. And others even leave the house and walk around the block.
But on the positive
Fewer Distractions : OK, so I listed this above as a con but if you’ve mastered to control the negative distractions then actually working from home can provide some much sought after “quiet time”. I find this most desirable when I’ve got some work on that requires me to get my head down and just be productive. Imagine the last time you had to do something which required a fairly high level of concentration but all you could here was Jane and “that guy from marketing” chattering away about which was better, Zizzi’s on Pizza Express… or if it’s not them it’s a constant queue of people at your desk… your work is just never gone get done.
Delivery Men : Nope, I don’t want to go down that route you dirty minded lot! What I’m referring to is the freedom to be at home when you know that you’ve got a delivery coming or when the boilers being serviced. Being able to be around for these kinds of events is truly a benefit. In fact the plus-side to be able to be geographically at home stretches to many scenarios.
Your Own Coffee : Yes, this really is a big deal. I get to drink my favourite coffee… in my favourite mug… and perhaps I’ll even accompany it with a hot cross bun.
The Commute : Speaks for itself really.
So in summary
I love it… in fact I love the ability to work from home just as much as the actual working from home.