Working from home: there’s been a lot of that recently. Government guidelines since the start of the pandemic have been to work from home whenever possible, and for some of us that’s been a breeze. There are many that have had that working arrangement for some time, if not their whole careers, yet there were far more that were thrust into this situation for the first time, some with little to no warning.
Now we here at Lamway have been utilising the work from home mandate for some time so we’re quite used to it, but that’s not to say it wasn’t disruptive at first and it was a learning curve for sure. With this blog, however, we’re not so much listing the pros and cons – we kind of did that with our article on how to survive from home during quarantine – but to talk generally about working from home and what you can do to make it suit you.
Let’s start with the obvious: working from home isn’t for everyone. There will be many that thrive in such an environment, usually those that like to knuckle down in the office without distraction. And an office can be a very distraction place, with the general and almost constant kerfuffle, phones ringing, or that one colleague who can never seem to communicate below a decibel level of 100. At home, there is none of that. You can choose your workspace and make it as hectic or as tranquil as you need. We even have one colleague here at Lamway that deliberately plays office background noise through their home sound system to create the relevant ambience. Others just want to plug in some headphones, put on the new Foo Fighters album and get on with it, something they may not ordinarily get to do when they have colleagues constantly needing them for something.
There are definitely more superficial reasons for you wanting to from home too. Unless you have a zoom meeting to prepare for, there is literally no reason you can’t spend the day in your PJ’s. You may even want to go one step further and not leave your bed. Who cares, so long as you get your work done? That’s the ultimate beauty of working from home – you can tailor it to your own wants and needs. Whatever you want, to get the best out of you.
There are, however, certain cons that go with this. For every person that relishes the idea of working from home, there are others that dread it. Part of the joy of working in an office is just that, you’re in an office. You can bounce ideas immediately off of your colleagues, pass them the relevant paperwork they or you need, and have your one to ones face to face. Working in the office has the human element and an efficiency that can be missing when working from home.
And superficial issues arise at home with the cons as well as the pros. The office can offer a focussing incentive to some that they otherwise wouldn’t get at home. You have your colleagues and management on hand to help and to motivate, but they can also keep you in check should you be spending too much time away from your desk or perusing Amazon when you should be working. At home, this kind of focus is absent, especially if you live on your own. That’s when you must maintain an element of self-control. Yes, it’s easy to put on your Xbox, but you wouldn’t do that in the office, unless there is one in the office, then you reserve its use to your lunch hour.
The other major con is that there isn’t the same immediacy when talking to your colleagues. You can’t just turn to them and ask their opinion on something or knock on the manager’s door when something’s urgent. And heaven forbid you have a poor internet connection. You may be able to use the sites you need but zoom conversations will get tricky and annoying real quick when you keep cutting out mid sentence.
Ultimately, whether you choose to work from home, or it’s a mandate handed down due to Covid, be sensible. You definitely have the freedom to make it work in whatever way is best for you and the rules are obviously not as stringent – lay on the couch in your dressing gown, it doesn’t matter – but remember you ARE still working, only the venue has changed.