Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Why working from home is a bad idea

A couple of years ago I wrote this piece about how to work from home. From the stats and comments I received, it looked like a pretty famous topic close to many people's heart. However, after having worked from home for 2 years (and also having worked from office before that), I believe today that working from home ALL THE TIME is not such a good idea. 
I am not denying the benefits of WFH entirely. You get to babysit when needed, spend time with parents if required, run errands etc. But, this cannot be the norm! The days you decide to work from your home should be an exception which should be generously allowed by your employer. Like, an acquaintance who worked from home for 6 months to look after her bed ridden mother. Or, like another friend who could work from home while her husband got transferred from city to city.
But what changed my mind? Here it is -
  1. Networking: one of the main advantages of going to an office facility is when you come face to face with people who matter. This helps you network and build professional & personal bridges. Without being physically present, you are left to virtual means to achieving the same results. 
  2. Work environment: When everyone around you is working, you want to be working. If others around you are watching TV, reading books or worse having a siesta, how can you work?
  3. Accelarators: The scanner, the VOIP, the copier, the dispatch office are all so handy and co located at your work place. You waste very little time doing any of these over head activities. That is a pain when at home!
  4. The Commute: Your commute to and from office is the time you gradually go from 'home' mode to 'work' mode. Take that away and you are left feeling guilty most of the day for mixing work with family.
  5. The work-life boundaries: When working from home (especially in India), it is difficult to convince your colleagues that though you are working from home, you need a lunch break! or that at 6 PM, when rest of the world is commuting back home, you need to take your kids to the park!
Just like everything else in life, access of WFH is not good. So, let your employees work from home, don't make them work from home.