Suramya's Blog : Welcome to my crazy life…

March 5, 2013

Working from Home, some thoughts…

Filed under: My Thoughts — Suramya @ 11:26 PM

Yahoo sent shock waves through the IT sector when they banned working from home. Following the by now infamous memo many articles/blog posts have been written. Initially I wasn’t planning on posting anything about it, however recently a friend asked me for my thoughts on this as I have worked from home quite often in the past in various roles. So here are some of my thoughts on the subject. Keep in mind that all this are my thoughts and not of any of my employers (past or present).

Working from home has its plus points and negative points so there is no easy answer to this question. In my personal experience I am a lot more productive when working from home if I need to focus on something and don’t want interruptions (e.g. if I need to code something). At work its easy for the person sitting next to you ask a question, or someone to walk up and interrupt you. When working from home this is not there and overall I think I get a lot more work done.

However there is a flip side, when at home you can’t participate in the on the spot spur of the moment conversations that might help you solve a particularly hard problem. Which is the point that Yahoo is making and the reason they banned working from home. A lot of times really amazing idea’s come out of water cooler talk and just overhearing the conversation next to you can point you in the right direction. The best way to innovate and come up with good idea’s is to discuss with people who can then build on top of your idea or point out issues that you might not have seen. (Which is why brainstorming is so important when you start solving a problem).

BTW, all this talk assumes that people working from home are actually working. A lot of the times a person will send out a WFH (Work From Home), send some emails in the morning; then disappear for a few hours and then come back and send a few more mails to appear like they have been working all day. These are the folks that give people who work from home a bad name. For the purpose of this post, I am excluding them from the discussion.

An advantage of working from home is that you can still work if you are unable to make it to work for some reason (could be sickness, need to stay for a delivery, to take care of a sick family member or whatever). Instead of taking a day off the person would still be productive and help you move towards your target. Plus if you need to work odd hours, working from home makes it more bearable. Basically if I have to work at 2 in the morning I would rather do it in my pajamas with music blaring than from the office where putting your feet up on the desk is frowned upon 😉

Overall I think that WFH is a great idea but should be used in moderation. Work from the office when you need to innovate and work from home if you need to focus on something without external distractions.

I am sure some (or maybe most) of you have thoughts on this so please feel free to discuss in the comments.

– Suramya

PS: I intentionally didn’t talk about the advantages of WFH for mom’s/elderly etc because enough people have posted about those aspects at other sites.

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