WFH. Working For Hoo?

Upon starting my own company and in a conscious effort to save on costs I have been working from home for quite some time now. This has resulted in some interesting observations both about the world and ones own self.

The (in)famous Bad Day

Yes. It’s true. The myth is correct. When you are having a “bad day” and don’t want/need/have to go into an office full of people the sigh of relief is audible at the prospect of staying at home. The very idea of looking presentable and putting on a face to entertain others is not something you can digest on this rainy Monday morning. You’ve woken up to a head-ache, the cat has desecrated your iPad and the keys are absolutely nowhere to be found. Head-ache now considerable worse. Now imagine having to go into public were your mood will affect others. Or worse yet, they will affect you.

Colleagues can go both ways

Socially speaking, you need team mates around you. People with whom to interact with. Sure. I love a good chat and crave a double shot of a caffeinated-like product at the graveyard hours after lunch. However… Hands up how many of you would be rich if you got a dime for every time someone pinged/IM’d/texted/messaged you a blatantly stupid question. The kind of question that makes you blink twice before re-reading it again just to make sure. The kind of question that you learned the answer to on your second day at the company. Now politeness and bonton play a huge part here. Discretion is advisable. Answers such as “Are you retarded?” or “What happened moron, left the head at home today?” are generally not considered Safe For Work.

Families are even worse.

At least before when the general public all agreed that you have a bonafide job and are actually doing some work ie. going into an office, the phone interruption would be started by asking me if I had a second and is now a good time. Not so anymore. Since I have turned my back on corporate life, my time is not as valuable anymore. Now I pick up the phone and am greeted with a story that would dull me even on a brightest day but is now just ridiculous. Try explaining to your mother that you are actually trying to get something done here, no, the sweatpants don’t mean I’m slacking off and yes it IS a real job!

Formal Business Attire

That leads me nicely into perhaps the biggest advantage of the anti-social behavior aka working from home. The clothes. Or I should probably specify the lack thereof. I won’t propagate that I sit around in pyjamas and have completely given up. But I will say that dry-cleaning bill is considerably less than it used to be, and strangely find myself void of the need to iron something new to wear every day. I am usually on webcam from the neck up so as long as I don’t look like something that has been run over twice, then it is considered acceptable. What a relief to be able to focus on what I’m doing all day.

The Productivity.

You may have heard some people mention in passing that they get much more done at home and don’t understand any possible restrictions on their right to work from home occasionally. This is in fact, very true. Without all the social hold-ups (see above) and interruptions it is amazing what a person can get done in the space of a working day. I marvel at what happens to my to-do lists when I sit in solitude and concentrate on the task at hand. Arguments such as “but don’t you find yourself wasting time?” are based on an employers view of the employee. Of course if you are getting paid at the end of the month no matter your output, then the attitude might be slightly more lenient towards entertainment. I’m not going to lie to you, it requires discipline. Boatloads of it. I would make a bold claim that people could really benefit from a few days of remote working/working from home every month. It’s good for the psyche and even better for productivity. Especially if business suits are optional and bad manners are mandatory!

Working-From-Hermitville.

One Response to “WFH. Working For Hoo?”

  1. Jonathan Sörum 13/08/2011 at 14:46 #

    Very true. I think it’s the effect of the open landscape office, where an office with a door to close became a thing of the past. Three things that work wonders for my productivity:
    1. Log out of chat when doing productive work
    2. Read your email at 4-5 times per day, no more. Unless you’re in customer support, you don’t need to reply to emails within the hour.
    3. Go hide. Find an empty meeting room and set up camp there for 1-2 hours. Some of my most productive work has happened when I’ve gone into hiding.

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