My personal experience of home working

TrampolinesI consider myself to be very lucky to work from home.  Because my medical condition makes it difficult for me to travel at least a couple of times a week and I feel too ill to work for at least a few hours most days only a decade ago I would have probably had to give up work. 

However having reached the point in my career where I am now happy to use my skills and experience to support others around the world on their projects home working suits me very well for the following reasons:

  • I have a 12 hour window within which to fit in 4 hours of desk work and a couple of hours of research,  this is possible on most days even if I am really tired or in a lot of pain
  • I work with teams in the UK, Northern Europe, US and Australia so the extended working day is very valuable
  • Not only do I spread out my work over a 12 hour period but in between work sessions I do a lot of gentle exercise which would be difficult to do in an office environment
  • I often need to rest, read, nap, meditate etc again this would be difficult in an office environment
  • The global nature of my work means there really is no office full of people that I work with anyway
  • Although my wife also works from home because two of my daughters need to go to hospital regularly there are often times (every week) when I need to pick kids up from school or take them to after school activities
  • Work life balance is much improved
  • I have a trampoline at home!

Although home working is very convenient, there are definitely some down-sides:

  • I miss the casual social interactions, for example the chats that don’t take place when you only ever talk to people on conference calls
  • Most people I want to chat with seem to be busy on conference calls all day,  somehow when you work from home just chilling out for 10 minutes with a couple of team mates is more difficult than it used to be
  • I observe much less the way that other people work, and therefore it’s more difficult to pick up new skills and broaden my experience
  • There is some social isolation,  even though I get out a lot and meet people a lot,  it’s a smaller circle of people
  • My work life and my home life are fully integrated,  it’s more difficult to switch off, but I am nice and relaxed so there is less need to switch off

I mitigate some of this using tools and processes:

  • Blogs and blog comments provide access to a diversity of opinion and discussions
  • Podcasts provide a way to connect to a broader set of views in a more social way than just reading, and I can listen to them while walking, swimming, ironing, gardening etc
  • Presence and IM provide a relatively un-disruptive way to keep in contact with people
  • Lunch time meetings provide a good social connection with the few people who live locally
  • I am not addicted to always on email
  • I keep my Tablet largely free of all work related activities except reading, and a small amount of reviewing

I have an extended version of this post here

Steve Richards

I'm retired from work as a business and IT strategist. now I'm travelling, hiking, cycling, swimming, reading, gardening, learning, writing this blog and generally enjoying good times with friends and family

3 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    I think the greatest drawback of working at home is missing the social interaction, meeting new people and having some company. I also work at home and sometimes, it feel terrible. Not getting much activity and exercise makes me lazy and drowsy sometimes and I feel very isolated, from my family and friends.

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  2. Rob Glazier says:

    My employer has just allowed me to expand from 1 day a week at home to basically unlimited remote capability. My concern is that I will lose the sense of knowing “the pulse” of the company. Much of my work involves strategic planning and getting out ahead of the corporate plans. I suppose I can still participate in meetings but I wonder about the difference in not physically being in the office for those impromptu discussions that occur all the tme.

    In all this is a great opportunity. I also have a chronic disease that, while currently in remission, could flare up anytime making a 90 minute (one way) commute very difficult. So I plan to maximize this experience and test it out.

    Thanks Steve for sharing your experiences. Hopefully this can work me long term, as well.

    Rob

  3. Steve Richards says:

    Rob, I think you’re right to worry about this risk. Although if you work for a global company then maybe you will find you get a more global perspective by working from home than you ever could in any particular office.

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