If you are one of the folks who has never had the opportunity to work from home and suddenly due to the Corona virus and local government policies and restrictions, your employer has been generous to allow you to work from home, then I would like you to welcome to the wonderful and treacherous world of work from home.
Wonderful, it is. You cut down on the travel time. This is anywhere in the range of one few hours a day, depending on which country and how far you live from work. This extra time, is a new luxury you have acquired. If you used to travel in packed like sardines public transport, then there is nothing you can do on your way to work or back other than trying to stay vertical. For such people, this extra time is something you can use to catch up on some reading. Maybe, you can enroll yourself into some online courses and acquire new skills. Or for those of us who are perpetually tired, can extend our sleeping hours 🙂
Wonderful, it is. You can now take short breaks and attend to you family. Have a cup of coffee/tea with your partner, check upon your parents/kids. This is something that will make your breaks worthwhile, instead of engaging in office gossip and those depressing/distracting water-cooler conversations.
Wonderful, it is. You now have the ability to juggle with you office and home work. You are cooking your dinner while you are listening in on a meeting where you are present because you are part of a global mailing list 😀 Now you do not have to worry about reaching home to cook. You will be eating healthy food made at home.
Wonderful, it is. You now do not have to engage with the people you hate being around you. You get to pick and choose who you interact with and how long. An e-mail here, a @yourcollegue reference in a conversation and you got your work done. Especially if you are an introvert, this is a blessing in disguise.
That brings us to the treacherous part of working from home. Treacherous, it is. Because you are far away from all the action. You are not able to tune in to the chatter. You do not know what is happening “Out There”.
Treacherous, it is. If you are not the disciplined kind. If you are the procrastinator kind. Work will get piled up and you will find yourself slogging and sweating on the last mile of the marathon when all the runners have crossed the finishing line long ago.
Treacherous, it is. If you do not have the required and reliable infrastructure. If you live in one of the places that have unreliable power/internet. If your electric/internet company decides to carryout that important maintenance work on the grid right when you are about to enter into a meeting with the VP to present your fantastic idea to improve the sales 😦
Treacherous, it is. If your have to interact with new people for your work. It is reasonably easy to conduct e-mail and IM conversations with people you have met and interacted with face-to-face for some time. You are able to put a face to the words and understand the tone of the conversation. It becomes quite difficult to understand the emotion behind the words when you are interacting with new people you have never met or spoken to. You are not sure if that was a sarcastic comment or a call for help!
Treacherous, it is. If your are the always on social media kind. When you are at work, even if you do not have restricted access to the internet, your urges to get on to social media is curtailed to an extent with the need to maintain the decorum. At home, you are free as a bird and you own the internet!!! If you find yourself spending more time on one or more of those social media sites then you could land in trouble, especially if you have the habit of posting a lot of updates (during work hours).
I welcome you to share your good and bad experiences with Work From Home, in the comments.