This post has been published on Bangalore Mirror dated 7th December 2009
Working from Home has become very common in corporates these days. Workplaces are looking to reduce cost involved in space and power. More and more offices are making this option available to the employees whose physical presence is not really required to get the work done. These people who permanently work from home are called 'Remote Workers' although I do not like the term much. I often realize that when I work from home ( very rare days) I work much more than I do at office. So, there must be a better term as I don't want anyone to register 'Remote worker' as 'Remotely working..'.
I chanced to have a conversation with a colleague who works from her home office. Surely, this sounds better than a remote worker. We were discussing about the idea of working from home in general. Here are what I captured and later realized:
When you work from home, work is always at the back of your mind, even after you are done with the office hours. It takes a very good disciplining of your mind to totally cut out work when you are not in front of your computer.
Work from home option gives you some peace and quiet that is otherwise a problem in most work places.
When you work from home, you do much more than when you are in an office building. However, it depends on the number of meetings you role demands. I believe discussion meetings are effective when in office and you meet people in person. If you are talking about meetings with people in different geographies, then there is no difference. Its anyways a remote meeting.
When you work from home, and there is a power failure, and your power back-up doesn't last long, then your work commitments suffer. The same applies to the Internet connectivity. At an office building there is someone whose job is to make sure that power and Internet works fine.
When you work from home, it is very difficult to draw a thin line between work and home life explicitly. You still have to answer the door. Any letter/post that otherwise waits till the end of your work day, lands in your hands mid-day, to make or break the rest of your work day.. Say, its a snail mail from an investment company with 'not-so-good' news...
When you work from home, you get to take quick breaks that in some professions boost your energy levels. For instance, in my field, if you write for more than thirty minutes, trust me, you will need to take five to ten minutes break.
When you work from home, if you do not have proper infrastructure, chances are that you might end up in posture related issues - back pain, shoulder ache and such ergonomics related problems. Most workplaces today have econometric conditions including lighting.
If you are a people person and do not like a lonely workspace, then you are better off working from an office building.
If you are in Bangalore and are commuting two hours on the road, one way to work, then Working from home is the best option your company can give you.I see people working from an office wanting to work from home permanently, just for this reason.
If you have a baby that demands your attention and your work can wait till you attend to your child, then working from home for a few months is a boon.
There are a lot of advantages when you work from home as much as disadvantages. It is just that we need to know both sides when we opt to 'Work from Home'. People who are working out of a corporate office should not complain about having to work from an office much, because, 'Work from home', among its advantages that you would certainly like to have, also has some disadvantages that are probably too hard to handle.
There is no right and wrong here, its just that what works for you finally matters. I wrote this post for those people who think working from home permanently is a very attractive option to have.
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