If you’re old enough to remember the early days of the digital revolution then you’ll know the prediction was that by now we’d all be working from home and a full day at the office would be a thing of the past. Yet many of us still do the grinding, daily commute to work and regularly fight with our colleagues over what temperature the office should be. With so many jobs now requiring little more than access to a computer and an Internet connection, why are there so many people who still work in offices? Maybe it’s because while there are some benefits to home working, it also has its downsides.
Who hasn’t been irritated by the mouth breather lurking over you as you’re trying to focus on writing something important or the wittering of a couple of your co-worker's several desks away as you’re trying to concentrate on a spreadsheet? While homeworking can cut down on the distractions around you, allowing you to give all your attention to important work, it can also be lonely. There are only so many conversations you can have with the dog before you start doing it when people are around and you get the inevitable odd looks and questions as to whether perhaps you’re spending too much time on your own.
As important as human contact is, however, one thing about working from home is that you don’t get to spend an hour (or longer) with your face jammed in someone’s armpit on the way to and from work. When your trip to the office is a saunter from the bedroom to whichever room your computer is in whilst wearing your comfiest slippers, your day starts with you in a far better mood than having been sardined into a train for longer than you should have been. The extra time you get to spend sleeping, relaxing or just getting a head start on your day can be a great benefit of working from home.
Of course, working from home does require a degree of self-discipline. It’s important to compartmentalise “home” life and “office” life, even when your home is your office. If you live with other people and work from home, they don’t always understand why you haven’t done the washing up or tided or cooked dinner since you’ve been in the house all day, regardless of how important or time consuming the project you’re working on is. On the flip side, it is also quite easy to use the state of the house as an excuse to procrastinate and delay starting an undesirable project.
However, it is the dress code that is perhaps the biggest benefit of working from home. While the sight of someone in a smart shirt and sharp suit is a great aesthetic, it’s not comfortable to work in and let’s not get started on how much formal shoes hurt. Working from home though you can be wearing a onesie and a cosy pair of slippers and no one will ever know as you send out great work while feeling comfortable and relaxed, making you far more productive than someone who is suffering from incredibly pinched feet.