Somehow or another in spite of my best efforts to escape computer-speak when I’m not actively at work it seems that even my personal “life” is laced with computer and IT geeks. Of course, as I’ve blogged about previously, I don’t really try to separate my “life” into a “work-life” and “personal” life — but I find it interesting that so many of the new people that I’ve met in the past year are associated with computing to some extent or another. (Of course living in New England with its high concentration of “techies” probably contributes greatly to my experience!)
At any rate, I found myself engaged in a couple of interesting conversations this weekend about working from home, the economy, job environment and IT careers in general. Of particular interest in those conversations was the subject of “the home office” and “working from home”, and in particular the challenges that are presented with the “home” environment. Not all of us engaged in the conversation were currently working from home, but a number of us have had the experience and could easily relate to the “stories” and experiences of others.
One of the topics which constantly came up (with associated “stories” ) was the experiences of the “worker” with their “family” during “work” time. The number one issue that came up was related to the need when “working”, to be left undisturbed, as if they had driven off to an office somewhere. Of course, for this to truly work for all of the relationships concerned, telecommuting from home cannot be a 24/7 operation. Clear boundaries have to be set.
However, this is more easily said than done it seems. Many of the participants in the conversation were feeling especially insecure about their current employment status — and the general consensus is that with such insecurity in the background, there is a tendency to try to work 24/7. This does not work! It was suggested by one participant that he thought perhaps that was what the company hoped for when they allowed him to telecommute!
Having employees who work from home certainly can save a company money. The full-time telecommuter doesn’t require office space, the part-time telecommuter can often share office space — less office space required, less expense. If on top of that savings the employer then gets greater productivity from the employee – it’s a win!