Yahoo recently announced that employees who were working from home would soon be required to work from their offices instead. This stirred up quite a lot debate online.
With all the technology that’s currently available, it’s certainly never been easier to work from home. Faster broadband connections and a greater number of mobile devices (smart phones, tablets and laptops) mean that you can take your office where ever you go.
The topical issue seems to be around whether employees are more or less productive at home. There’s a range of factors that come into play if you want to measure productivity. But there’s another interesting aspect to the debate – could it actually make you happier?
The up side
There are certainly a lot benefits when it comes to working from home. One of the most obvious is the lack of commute. For anyone familiar with getting stuck in traffic or sardine-packed public transport during peak hour – it’s a huge bonus. Not only do you save time but also money.
Many people cite convenience and flexible arrangements as being a top benefit. You can be at home to let in that tradie to fix the sink or squeeze in an appointment at the dentist down the road.
If you’re used to working in an open-plan office, working from home can be quite liberating. There are fewer distractions – like listening to other colleague’s phone calls or conversations – and interruptions.
Employers also benefit from employees who work from home. For instance, there are less overhead costs when a staff member doesn’t need office space, a desk or other facilities.
Depending on your work arrangements, there may also be potential tax advantages to working from home so check with your accountant.
But is it for you?
Before you take the leap and start setting up your home office – there are three important factors to think about: personality, preference and practicality.
Some people love to interact and bounce ideas with colleagues. They enjoy chatting, networking and dealing with people face to face. If you’re one of these people you may find working from home a little isolating. Of course there are ways to stay connected like using conference or video calls. And you can always schedule a day in the office when there’s an important meeting… or it’s cake day.
Ideal working environments also differ from person to person. A quiet office is an opportunity for some to focus and get work done, while others find the hustle and bustle of a busy workplace invigorating.
And when it comes down to it, for certain industries or specific roles, it’s just not practical to work from home, especially when there’s a hands-on component.
Tips for Pros
A good friend who has worked as a freelancer for over three decades once gave me a golden piece of advice about working from home: Don’t work in your pyjamas. There’s a certain level of psychological professionalism that can only come from a shower and clean set of clothes.
Do you work from home? What do you think are the benefits or down sides? Let us know in the comments below.