As you would agree with me, broadband is causing a lot of disruption in literally every aspect of life as we know it. At the #BroadbandEconomy Conference we touched on some of these disruptions and today I will borrow just one, and talk about it a little more – home offices.
At face value, why wouldn’t anyone want to work from home? I mean you get to save on fuel/transport money; dictate your own working times and sometimes even terms; multitask; eat whenever you are hungry; save on time spent on travelling to and from work etc. Well, there’s quite a lot really. However, since it’s the advantages being preached much, let’s look at the disadvantages a bit shall we?
I’m sure by now you’ve noticed that the more you are exposed to different environments, people and experiences, the more of an outside the box thinker you become; if not, then take it from me. Some might argue and rightly so, but I believe that intelligence is not a constant, what just differs is the rate at which people then ‘gather’ this intelligence. You can easily pick out a reader from a non-reader, an explorer from a non-explorer etc.
Therefore, don’t underestimate those 30 minutes you spend travelling to and/or from work every day. What you are exposed to even on that short journey influences the way you then think – whether you notice it or not. The influence doesn’t have to be immediate (more like immediately noticeable) but it definitely is there. Now imagine those 30 minutes multiplied by 2 by 5 by 4 and by 12…how much would you have gathered in a year without even exerting any effort? So how much of this does a person who works from home miss out on?
Increases susceptibility to distractions
Well home is home, there’s always that atmosphere that influences you to relax. Some people try to curb this effect by specially dedicating a room to solely function as an office. Some have also taught their families, housemates and/or pets to keep their distance during working hours. But let’s be real, how effective is that? The fact that your family knows that you’re within reach feeds on their urge to keep ‘checking’ on you.
Sometimes being quiet the whole day can get to you, you need to say at least one or two sentences to someone after every 2 hours. In a workplace environment you can easily do so and still keep in line with ‘productive work-related’ conversations, but at home that’s likely not going to be easy. Chances are that the rest of your housemates cannot relate to conversations in line with your work for one reason or the other, therefore you’d probably need to talk about something else which can turn out to be a very bad idea.
The environment becomes monotonous
Why do you think dogs need to be walked every now and then? Environments can easily become dull and monotonous. Doing everything within the same area has its own negative psychological impacts. In this case, it can also affect the quality of work one produces.
I once read about how people who work from home try to reduce this monotony by “walking to work”. Walking to work in this case means walking two blocks away (American context) every morning and evening as a way of trying to trick the mind into thinking that you’ve moved into a different environment. I don’t know how effective that is but well…
Limits networking opportunities
Networking is a very important aspect of life, whether on a psychological or business level. Humans are naturally relational beings, even introverts need certain levels of interaction to keep sane.
Sharing ideas or discussing topics with work colleagues can help give you a better understanding of a subject. This subsequently entails that you’re likely to perform more efficiently in the company of other colleagues than you would when you’re riding solo.
Certainly times are changing and who knows, maybe in the next couple of years we would have adapted well into this system. But for now, what would you prefer? The traditional working spaces or doing it from home?