Working from home is a mixed blessing. You can get a load of things done but there are just too many distractions, especially when there is someone else in the house with you.
Working from home isn’t something that I do a lot of officially but of course if I count the unofficial stuff then I guess it is something that I do almost everyday. But sitting down at the kitchen table with my laptop open and notebook at the ready is quite a rare experience for me. I do it when I have to go somewhere which is closer to home than work or need to catch a train or an airplane and there is some time to kill before it departs. At other times I work from home if I have a big report to write and I don’t wish to be disturbed.
The good thing about working from home is that you are not distracted by your work colleagues and you can choose which bits of technology that you switch on or not. People will find it harder to reach you as there is a psychological barrier between them and you because you are not at your work place. If you are working from home it must be important and you don’t want to be disturbed, right?
The bad thing about working from home is that you have to stay focussed as there are so many distractions, a cup of coffee and a biscuit, something from the fridge, the Jeremy Kyle show on the television. This is made much worse if there is someone else in the house that can distract you and keeps popping in to ask you if you want a cup of coffee and a biscuit or to tell you what is on the Jeremy Kyle show. If it is their home as well then there is no psychological barrier between you as you are on shared turf. If you are working from home it can’t be that important and you don’t mind having a chat, right?
Then there are the strange dilemmas in that you can not work at work and not feel guilty but if you are working from home and stop for a minute then you are consumed with guilt. When you are working from home you will often start earlier and work later and by working from home first thing you can avoid the morning rush hour.
There are things that you can do from home such as writing reports, catching up on email or reading lengthy documents. Some jobs are really suited to working from home especially if they are rules based or transactional in nature and can be done on screen. On the other hand though there are things that I find difficult to do such as making phone calls (they seem to be more intrusive) and of course meeting up with colleagues and customers.
This morning I worked from home as I had to go to the airport. I caught up with my email, wrote a couple of short reports, had a cup of coffee with a biscuit but avoided watching Jeremy Kyle (was he on this morning?) To be fair, I didn’t chat that much and so I must try it more often.