Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Working from home....:-) or :-(

“When people go to work, they shouldn’t have to leave their hearts at home.” – Betty Bender

“My mornings begin with dragging kids out of their beds, getting them ready for school, packing off their tiffin and running for the school bus before finally rushing for the office. Evenings are equally laborious with travel back home followed by helping kids with their school-work, dinners and then putting kids off to bed. Only after all this, do I get some ‘me’ time to catch up with a book or web browsing or phone calls. I live this life every day apart from the weekends, which are a bit soothing. And it has been the same since I got married and had kids. I wish I had an option to work from home where I wouldn’t need to have those backbreaking moments every morning and night.” My friend, Shruti mentioned this to me one lazy Sunday evening over a cup of steaming coffee. This tête-à-tête led me to think whether working from home is really the precise option for people like Shruti.
Today’s world is radically changing and so is the understanding between husband and wife. Gone are the days when our grandmas used to manage home and kids while our granddads went out money making. Women today climb the ladder of success and responsibility as fast as, or in some cases, even faster than the men. It is also a widely proven fact that most of today’s men appreciate and encourage their wives’ decision to step out of the homes chasing independent careers for themselves. Hence, there have been instances where couples have shown deeper level of understanding in managing their career as well as homes quite effectively. A spouse who has been a bit lesser in terms of seniority or accountability has offered to take care of the major workload after returning home from the office compared to the other who has to spend extended hours at office due to added responsibilities based on his or her seniority. However, not all couples are this fortunate. There are some who are at equals in their careers and both the partners have to put in those extra hours to meet the challenges at their respective workplaces.
Hence, in both cases, if the golden opportunity strikes to work from home, one cannot let it pass by that easily. However, as it’s said…all that glitters has a high refractive index, one has to carefully evaluate the pros and cons before grabbing such an opportunity.
While you are elated about the offer of working from home, you need to be vigilant about certain aspects which might play a major role in your decision making process.
Stow as you go:
Sometimes, you want to give exclusive attention to your job however; your home environment might not be adequate for it.  In the office, you might have a dedicated workplace which is your rightful area to work and complete your jobs uninterrupted. Though you try to apply the same rule at home, at times, it becomes challenging to live within the boundaries. Kids, and especially the younger ones, expect your attention at all times and it becomes difficult to mark the ‘working area’ at home. Besides, your family also carries an impression that you have lots of time to spend which might invite pointless expectations. You might also have to give up your rightful lunch/tea breaks which might not have been the case if you were working out of office.
Apart from the above, what you might have to tackle in the long run is the rightful recognition of your hard work. No matter how much working hours you put in to get the job done perfectly, you might be treated as a ‘non-priority member’ as far as any growth opportunities are concerned. Had you put in the equal hardship within the four walls of your office, you would have been an apt candidate considering the constant supervision that your seniors indulged in.
Profitable Proportion:
You might not want to neglect usage of your personal resources while you establish the office at home. Be it the telephone bill or the electricity or internet or even the teas and coffees that you are otherwise served without a penny in the office. In certain scenarios, the corporates might choose to reimburse these expenses in part or in full provided there is a mutual agreement signed at the beginning of the deal.
Besides this, one important fact you might want to consider is a sizeable cut in your pay-check if you opt to work from home.
Official Banter:
Office is a great place to meet different people and make new friends. This can actually be a great stress buster. At home, it can be depressing at times to work all by yourself without those little funny chit-chats with your colleagues.
While the above factors might sound a bit disappointing, working from home comes with its own benefits that are totally worthy. The below are some of them:
Family Time:
One of the biggest advantages of operating from the comfort of your home is the quality time you would spend with your kids and family. You certainly wouldn’t have loved to be away if there was an emergency at home that needed your urgent attention. There is no pleasure more rewarding than watching your kids grow, witnessing those important milestones in their lives than watching them videotaped. Hence, you are right there when your family needs you the most.
Personal Pursuit:
As you wouldn’t need to spend the time and energy on travelling to and from the office, you can channelize the same to pursue a new hobby or treasure the old one. You can also choose to be in your pyjamas while working unless there’s a video conference scheduled for the day.
While this is an attempt to point out both, the pros and the cons of working from home, one has to evaluate the above factors to make an appropriate decision as per individual requirements. If at all, you choose to opt for it, there are certain rules you might want to set for yourself:
Separate work/family time:
However tempted you might be, do not mix work with family and strictly follow the calendar to ensure that your obligations towards your job do not suffer. At the same time, chalk out a detailed time table that includes household chores or spending quality time with your loved ones.
Expense Report:
Make it clear to your company right at the onset that, if need be, they will be required to bear the expenses that might arise due to your choice of working from home.
Timely Appraisals:
Make it certain to pass on a message to your seniors that working from home will not be a constraint on your job performance and hence you stand every chance of being considered for any future growth and opportunities.
So, I hope you take the right steps and work towards managing your home and your career effectively. Happy working and enjoying it!
Image Courtesy: Google Images


  1. For me personally...working from home has never worked, not even before Caivalya. I just lack the will power needed to ignore household distractions ;-) However these never seem to bother me when I'm doing something I truly enjoy...meaning...NOT WORK :P

    1. I agree with you. It's not an easy way out for sure. But it's really working for few who, I must say, has a great will power!