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Work from Home – Should You or Shouldn’t You?

Working from home is a topic of discussion that piques the interest of most IT professionals. Most of them love to work from home, yet, only a few can stretch at home and work.

Why is there a gulf between what professionals want to do, and what they are asked to do?

The history goes back to the industrial age, where blue collared employees came in at 9, worked until 5, from Monday through Friday. Since the information age picked up remnants from the industrial age, they started to blindly follow the cron pattern set forth by our ancestors.

Really, why should you work from work home?

The Motivation

What is the motivation behind your request for working from home?

Do you want to enjoy the luxuries of home, home food, and family members while you work?

Do you want to avoid getting ready, driving, and being all formal in the office?

Or do you want to laze away your time at home watching TV and gorging on junk food?

Whether you work from home or not, to me, comes down to the motivation. As a manager, I look at closely why somebody wants to work from home while the office designates a seat, network, telephone and other essentials for you to work. I look at the reasons behind the request.

I am a big fan of the concept of working from home – provided, the heart is in the right place. Meaning – the motivation is based on completing quality work when compared to what you would deliver from your official seat.

If you are a manager, do a motivation check.

If you want to enjoy working from home, find the real reasons behind the ask.

The Positives

What is it that I can achieve from home that I cannot from the office?

To me, the time spent on the road is one of the savings. I spend about one hour each way, so if I can utilize the same time working, there is nothing better than that!

Secondly, some of us cannot work during scheduled hours. Being an author, I get ideas, solutions, and brainstorms at odd hours of the day – which is not essentially 9 to 5. I start working during those hours, completing far more quality work than I would have if I had to stick to the pre-set hours.

The Negatives

There are more negatives that I can count than the positives.

I have been leading teams for more than ten years, so I have come across a number of negatives. The biggest downfall is the procrastination that emerges from the swathes of the home atmosphere, especially for the official work.

I need to send out the minutes from the meeting. Let me do it tomorrow while I am in the office.

Let me just do the minimal stuff today, and complete the rest in the office tomorrow.

People who tend to work from home rarely seem to have this condition where they try to get by doing minimum work. Those who work regularly from home are conditioned to working out as they would from office, and don’t often fall into this trap.

I have also seen my employees push out all the meetings to the days when they are in office, and load up on individual contribution while at work. It just doesn’t work that way anymore. Our work is more of communication and less of the things we do with your hands.

It is also not uncommon for employees to schedule personal chores during the work days, which will essentially eat into their work hours – translating into the degradation of work quality and quantity.

How do you deal with the negatives?

The only way you can negate these negatives is through strong will, and be unpossessed by luxuries of what home can bring to you.

The Environment

If you want to effectively and efficiently work from home, make sure that you have the right environment for it. There needs to be a space that is only yours during the time you work. Ideally, it must be distraction free (read no TVs and alcohol) and should help you find touch with your work, and help you in the efforts.

As for me, I need to have a separate office, with a nice big table and a comfortable chair. These are essentials for me to work. I cannot work in the confines of my bed, and a laptop on my body.

Find out what you want to make your home suited for work life.

The Plan

First, talk to your manager, and agree to you working from home. Don’t allow to be micro-managed, but rather agree on the deliverables for the day or the days you intend to work from home. Do not fall into the trap of proving yourself to anybody.

Do quality work, and the work itself should be proof enough for the effects of working from home.

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