A fair share of blogs and articles on LinkedIn are devoted to the subject of working from home. Many articles claim that managers do not allow their employees to work from home because they want to be able to watch them and are afraid they will take advantage of the situation. Thus, they are opposed to working from home and discourage it.
My own experience
In reality, in my professional career of over 20 years I have never seen any manager use this argument. However, the discussion of working from home has always been a hot topic from time to time. I have worked for small and large organizations where working from home is embedded in the corporate way of working. I see a lot of advantages of working from home for different groups of people. Especially those who have a desk job that can be executed from anywhere.
Nowadays, technology enables you to basically work from any location. Many of you will have watched the video of the visual representation of a conference call in real life. If not watch below video. Probably you laughed about it as it is so real. However, with technologies as Skype for business, video conferencing, screen sharing technologies, etc. these ‘problems’ occur much less.
Do not disturb
Also, many of you recognize this, you have a sh*t load of work in front of you. You even dreamed about it at night and want to spend 4 hours without interruption to finish off everything. Where else better to do this than at home (assuming you have an empty house, kids at school, …).
The everlasting traffic jams
Finally, it makes absolutely no sense to beat Monday morning traffic at 8AM to be in the office at 8.45AM in line with the corporate policy. Instead you could also read your mails from home, leave your home at 9.30AM and reduce your commute from 45min to 20min.
Stop the boring jokes
Why isn’t this flexible way of working not adopted so easily? It sounds like a no brainer. In my opinion, one of the reasons is because people are creatures of habit. We don’t like change. How many of you sit at the same desk day in day out although the layout is designed for flex desks. So, people who do not conform to the standard are frowned upon. How often have I given a pony laugh when I entered the office at 10AM and my colleagues would say: good afternoon!! Or colleagues who decided to beat traffic by entering the office at 6.30AM, leave at 4PM and colleagues would say: do you work part-time? Please stop with these boring jokes as they are NOT funny.
Don’t take it to the extremes
Secondly, there are always people who take working from home very literally and never show up anymore: their argument, with modern technology I do not need to be in the office anymore. From a rational point of view, there is no counter argument but, everyone knows there is also something like teambuilding and bonding, watercooler talks, office culture, friendship and whatsoever. I have found out so many things prior to the official announcement came out because of these coffee talks, one-on-one’s, bila’s or whatever you want to call them.
I do agree that working from home will not always be as efficient compared to being in the office. For some reason, Friday is a day where everyone is massively working from home. However, the number of people who are ‘active’, ‘in a meeting’, ‘busy’ or ‘in a call’ on Skype at 4PM are very small. Many of them are ‘inactive’ and I must admit I was also guilty of this behavior from time to time.
Creating a learning organization
One of the reasons I stimulated my teams to come into the office on a regular basis was also to allow them to learn from each other. That’s the whole reason of building a team, the one plus one equals three. It is much easier to tap someone on the shoulder for advice than having to ‘ping’ someone with the chance the other person not responding.
To me there is a fine balance when it comes to working from home. Yes, I absolutely stimulate it, but not to the extremes. I encourage working from home as I think it actually improves productivity. Also, it makes no sense to force someone to be in the office whereas you can also work from home and allow your employee to open the door for the plumber who is fixing a leak at home. However, it should not go to the extremes, try to have regular times where all of you are present in the office, talk with, learn from and laugh with each other.
Then comes HR: “let’s draft a policy…”
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