Home. Work.

Milan recently posted about how he finds he is more productive when he moves around while doing his schoolwork rather than just sitting in one spot for hours. He went on to wonder about the concept of “peripatetic” work styles in general.

I wanted to leave a big giant comment to this post, but instead of hijacking his blog, I just left a short comment and decided to carry on here.

I don’t think human beings are built to sit on one spot for hours at a time. I also don’t think we’re meant to spend most of our waking life with strangers instead of with our kith and kin.

Yet, as youngsters we’re shipped away, told to sit still, slotted into a desk with the expectation that we’ll graduate to a bigger desk as adults.

I always think there must be a better way. Milan is on to something. With all this portable technology at our fingertips why are we still working in the same old stationary, soul-sucking way?

Why don’t more of us work from home, for instance? We spend most of our incomes on our homes, yet spend very little time there. We could work in comfort at home; move around at will – get some housework done, play with the kids or pets, even go outside and do an errand or two.

We’d save money on commuting. We’d get tons of cars off the road which would do wonders for the environment. We could save money on daycare by working around our children’s schedules and/or forming some sort of cooperative arrangements with other teleworking parents.

Absenteeism would be reduced. Differently abled people would have more job opportunities.

We’d only need a fraction of the office space that now occupies our cities and we could convert that space for residential use. Then independant businesses would move back downtown to service the residents and our downtowns would be revitalized.

Ta-da! – most of the world’s problems solved through telework.

I work at home occasionally. I think I’m as, if not more, productive than I am in my cubicle where every bored co-worker can drift by with a funny story or personal problem. A recent Penn State University study, The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety and the Canadian Telework Association all agree.

I’m sure there are drawbacks. Some people might miss the ongoing social interaction. Some people might not be disciplined enough to work without someone breathing down their neck. Some people might feel like they never get away from work if it’s part of their home.

I don’t know. Why don’t more of us do it? Would you like to work from home? Some of you probably already work from home. Is it all it’s cracked up to be?


14 responses to “Home. Work.

  1. I telework on Fridays. I LOVE it. I get things done because there are no last-minute meetings, no colleagues needing opinions, no authors phoning with questions. It also saves me 20% on gas costs and I emit 20% less car exhaust each week. I can also put a load of laundry on or put dinner in the oven early to cook while I’m working. True multitasking.

    I don’t know that I’d want to work from home more than one day a week though. There is a certain number of meetings to attend, and some things need to be done collaboratively with co-workers that are best done face to face with the maps and papers spread over a desk. And I would miss the company of other grownups.

    We are going to be getting a new manager sometime before the end of the fiscal year. I am living in fear that this person will not be a fan of teleworking and will insist that all staff are there 5 days a week. Fingers are crossed.

  2. It is. Working from home does make one miss people but that’s what outside work is for.

    Would you goof off all the time? It’s like living by a candy store. At first you move there and you think you’ll live on candy then you forget the store is there.

  3. I’ve proposed teleworking but my boss nixed it, unfortunately.

    Not being a morning person, I think it would be great to be able to set my own hours. I’d probably work from mid-afternoons into the evening…

  4. Omigosh, I couldn’t agree more. I work in an office where, if we get up and walk around for a few minutes, people ask, “Where did you go???” So, we’re stuck in our chairs for seven hours a day. It is the most unhealthy lifestyle I can imagine. The human body was not designed to live that way.

    I would love to work from home. It would be more natural, and I would probably end up being more productive (well, in between blogging…).

  5. Alison – There’s apparently a big push to get more people teleworking. That’s the offical word, anyway. I don’t see much actual evidence.

    Pearl – Welcome, thanks for visiting. I always feel I have to do MORE work when I work at home just so I don’t feel guilty for enjoying it so much.

    Jazz- you should bring your boss into the 21st century

    Josie – I wonder why we can all see this and all the experts can prove it, but the bosses still keep digging their heels in?

  6. I worked out of my home office for years. I just recently quit to be a full-time Toddler Wrangler, but when I worked at home, I loved it. I was motivated to work, organized and didn’t miss the office interaction too much. It was hard at first, because it was a change, but I loved it. And, one of my biggest challenges was not working all the time, because the work was right here…

    My hubby, on the other hand, hates working from home. He needs the distinction between work and home. He needs the human interaction. Oddly enough, when he works from home now and then, he actually gets more accomplished. But, it’s not something he could do on a regular basis without driving himself (or me) crazy. 🙂

  7. CP’s hubby sounds a lot like me. I would be too distracted to work at home. I don’t have the self-discipline.
    I also like to separate work from home, and need some interaction with someone other than The Prettiest Cat Ever.

  8. I love it, providing I get sufficient social activity outside of working hours.

    What I particularly want is a job that runs from 9am to 2.30pm, so that I can walk my daughter to and from school, when she starts school.

    Unfortunately I don’t have enough clients to be able to run my business from home right now, so I need to work in an office to benefit from company marketing. Maybe one day…

  9. You ask why the bosses dig their heels in. It’s because they lose the one thing they crave more than salary. They lose the ability to push people around. They actually don’t do anything and meetings are almost always a complete waste of time. This is however the time in which you can tell the boss what a genius he/she is and therefore promote your own promotion, there really is no other reason for meetings. When people start working from home in large numbers the realization will dawn that most of the bosses are actually doing nothing or actually hampering production.

  10. CP – Interesting how the women seem more down with this concept than the men

    Bob – I think this is also indicative of why women find it so much easier to adjust to retirement than men do — generally speaking

    Stella – Don’t you have flexible work options? Maybe you could leave at 2:30 and do a couple of hours of telework late afternoon?

    Bandobras – Or maybe it’s because the bosses are men who, as we’ve discovered can’t wrap their mulish heads around the idea that one could work productively in a comfortable, non-agressive, non-competitive environment??

  11. I also work from home occasionally (once or twice a week), but I don’t think I’d want to do it all the time. In fact, I KNOW I wouldn’t want to do it all the time, because I used to do it all the time. It does me good to get out of the house and into a different environment with different people. Although, I do love the fact that I have the kind of job that I can do from home when I need to, and my boss doesn’t seem to mind.

    I have a lot of thoughts on this, but this comment has already filled up more than one box, which means it’s too long to be a comment. So, maybe I’ll write my own blog entry and link back to this one.

  12. I like the social interaction, but then I could get it elsewhere, like on South Beach, having lunch or dining w/ friends, a line dance class, karaoke, anything fun like that. Work isn’t the ideal social setting anyway.

    I’d love to work from home if it paid me enough and allowed me the time to get away, to squeeze in time for fun w/ friends and family. I love that idea.