I’m working from home this week, which is excellent in many ways, and not so awesome in others.
One of the biggest benefits of working from home is that you have fewer distractions caused by other people. I don’t get bothered by people just walking up for a chat. They have to either email me, or pick up the phone. IT people seem to have an almost physical aversion to picking up the phone, so this works in my favour. Email I can ignore in another window until I want to process it.
In fact, I’m typing this while I wait for other people to get organised and dial into a teleconference… that they requested! This way, I can be doing something else, rather than sitting in a meeting room for 10 minutes while someone works out how to work the lift.
A downside of being at home is that you need more self-discipline. If you don’t do the work, it doesn’t get done. If you don’t knuckle down to review that documentation, boring though it may be, it won’t review itself.
If you’re not the sort of person who will do things they find unpleasant without someone standing over you to make sure you do, working totally unsupervised like this is not for you.
There’s another kind of discipline you need too: not working too hard. It’s really easy to start at 8am and not finish until 7pm, since you don’t have travel time. You need to set some sort of hard edges to your day, similar to having to go home in the evenings, so you don’t upset your work/life balance.
The best part of working from home is the freedom to work in your underwear, and to grab a cup of tea whenever you want. You can crank your favourite tunes as loud as you like, because your neighbours are probably at work. You can pat the dog on your coffee break.
And you can wander outside with the laptop and respond to email in the sunshine. What could be better?