Is Working From Home Really All It’s Cracked Up to Be?


Is Working From Home Really All It’s Cracked Up to Be?

I love the idea of working from home. There really is nothing that I can do in the office that I cannot do at home. With internet, remote desktops, and VPNs there is no reason to ever leave. So why do some people think it’s a terrible idea? Why would someone choose to go into the office when they don’t need to anymore? Well, even with all the new technologies, there are still things the office offers that home simply cannot. So what is better? No commute, distraction-free environment, and a better work-life balance? Or does the structure, socialization, and face time with the boss/client outweigh the supposed benefits?

Commute

Commuting is a drain on many people. Chicago has the second highest commute time for a major city — behind NYC. This is something we all must deal with, or not. We can choose to work from home to avoid the stress of driving into work. Public transit is great, until some car plays chicken with the train or the switches freeze in the winter. Instead of a short 50 minute train ride, you could be stuck for upwards of 3 hours just sitting there, usually with a dead phone and no coffee. Instead of this time suck, you could be well into your work day in your pj’s next to your espresso machine. I really have no benefit to commuting outside of the fact that leaving the house gets you into a better frame of mind to actually start working.

Work-Life Balance

Work-Life Balance is a hot topic in the tech industry. Many are working well over the standard 40 hour weeks and working from home seems like a great way to keep people motivated. I used to think this made a lot of sense. If you’re home you can complete tasks like the laundry or dishes while waiting for a process to complete. But, if you’re work life and hour home life are the same, how is that a balance? You’re just mushing the two together. I don’t have a home office anymore, so I just work in the kitchen when I work from home. This works nicely, but I’ve all but stopped cooking, and we never eat in the kitchen anymore — we eat in the basement or outside. Some work from home days turn in to pretend you’re working at home days. Some weekends turn into work days. There’s no separation from work and life.

Distraction-Free Environment

Really? Working from home has less distractions? Yes, when doing heads down development it is easier to focus when you don’t have people stopping by your desk asking questions, but it takes a bit of discipline to focus at home. With the TV (Netflix), the video games, the dog begging to play outside, the crying baby, the hot tub… There are just as many distractions at home as in the office. Not everyone should work from home if they know they don’t have the discipline to focus.

Socialization

One of the biggest reasons to go into the office are meetings. Even with all the video conferencing software out there, there is no replacement for a face-to-face meeting. Even at it’s best video conferencing is always blurry. You will undoubtedly miss nonverbal communication that could make or break a project. Even on days when you’re not scheduled for a meeting, there is no replacement for being present. Your clients get to know you through small talk. The more they like you, the more likely you are to get extended — usually when the commute is terrible and you don’t want the three month engagement to turn into three years. They aren’t going to like you because they don’t know you if you’re always working from home. And if the only person you talk to when you work from home has four legs and fur, you might end up crazy dog lady who constantly talks in that sing-song puppy voice. (If you don’t know that voice, go adopt a dog. Now.)

There are always days where it’s best to work from home. You’re tasked with a mundane task that you need the background noise of Orange is the New Black just to keep going. You’re feeling sick and just not up for the drive. You have a meeting later in the day that is closer to home than the office. But generally, it just makes more sense to go into the office.

Source: Medium:Remote Working
Is Working From Home Really All It’s Cracked Up to Be?

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