It’s National Work from Home Day today. Yay!
Of course, if you work from home 52 weeks of the year then it’s really no big deal.
But for those of us desperate to avoid getting up at an ungodly hour to get in the car and get stuck in morning commute gridlock, it sounds heavenly.
Well more and more of us are wanting a piece of that.
Work Wise – the not-for-profit campaign for smarter working practices which organises today’s ‘event’ – says employees regularly working from home increased by 118,000 last year to more than 1.6 million.
That increase of 7.7 per cent outstripped the growth in employee job numbers by a factor of twelve.
Put that in your home-made coffee and sip it!
But hold on. There are drawbacks as well as benefits. So we’ve decided to list them.
Here’s what Cartridge People said in a recent survey. Perhaps hide behind the sofa in your lounge before reading on…
The five negatives about home working…
One of the biggest factors that drives us to work – apart from the need for money – is the individual craving for social interaction. We LIKE being around other people, having a bit of a chat and feeling generally…well…human. Hangouts, Messenger, Skype and so forth are handy, but lack a bit of the personal touch. I’m sorry, talking to the wall doesn’t work.
Fewer work friends
Sure, you’ve got telephone relationships with plenty of folks, but how many of them would you recognise if you passed them on the street? And you miss out on that end-of-the-week drink on Friday, where some of the real bonding takes place and you can have a few and let rip about your boss (unless he’s sitting beside you, of course).
Lack of group brainstorming and colleague support
You’re working on something urgent, and some widely-known but critical piece of information is on the tip of your tongue, and you just can’t quite recall it. GOD, WHERE’S IT GONE. It sends you bonkers. Were a co-worker nearby, you could quickly ask and they would jog your memory. Instead, you open another tab and go on a Google search. And cry, softly.
Office workers who have registered their home number with the Telephone Preference Service would likely be amazed at the volume of cold calls that still come through during working hours. Windows, conservatories, boilers, insulation, broadband packages – you name it. It tests your patience (unless you pretend to be an answer phone. Then it’s a lot of fun).
- IT issues
Yeah, dealing with the bureaucracy of the office IT department is a pain in the backside, but at least when you do get through to them, they have some ideas about how to fix your problem. You, on the other hand, will likely fritter away an hour or more of valuable time if the standard ‘turn it off/turn it back on’ fails to deliver. A 52nd cup of tea, anyone?
Five Best Things About Working From Home
Flexible working hours
You’re the boss – of course you have to put in the required hours, and meet the necessary deadlines, but you make the decision on how to achieve that. This can be particularly useful in easing the domestic load at the end of the “working” day: rather than coming home to a mountain of dishes, laundry and so forth, you can take 10 or so minutes out a few times a day to keep the chores under control.
The average worker spends nearly 200 hours annually commuting to and from work – the equivalent of an extra 25 working days per year. By cutting out this dead time, you can either impress your boss with higher productivity, or keep yourself fit by getting down to the gym. The money saved on travel could easily pay for the gym membership.
Better work-life balance
It has been argued that working in an office is one of the biggest barriers to a happy family life. Most full-time workers leave home early in the morning and return early evening, spending more time with colleagues than their families. So the savings on the commute aren’t just monetary, but can benefit relationships as well.
The brand of biscuits and tea that you prefer – and you only have to make a cuppa for one! You and your mobile device can sit at a desk, lounge on the sofa or even prop yourself up in bed. Heck, as long as you stay away from video conferencing, you can stay in your jammies all day if you so choose.
No office politics
It’s surprising how much energy and focus is siphoned off by the internal affairs and posturing that takes place within an organisation. Even if you’re not directly involved, it’s a distraction with no tangible benefits. Working remotely from the mother ship might leave you feeling a bit out of the loop, but also it’s considerably less stressful.
So did you get all that? Still fancy getting that remote access set up by IT? Then on you go!