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DRILL Career Guide
Working from home - Home Office

Working from home - Home Office

Home Office offered by a growing number of employers is an interesting and frequently sought after benefit as it enables the employees to handle their working hours independently, even if only partially, to adapt their daily schedule to current situation and amount of work and, thanks to technologies, work from practically anywhere and at any time. On the other hand, Home Office is a lot more challenging in terms of personal discipline and responsibility of the employee. After all, it is a freedom and the employee must be able to handle that. The employer, conversely, has to be able to efficiently manage such employee remotely. The relationship between the employer and the Home Office employee is based on a higher level of mutual trust.

The most frequent jobs suited for Home Office include especially IT developers, analysts, architects and some related jobs in information and communication technologies, some marketing, sales, finance, HR and design jobs, as well as some managerial positions. In general, these are the positions in which the nature of the job isn’t fully or partially associated with a specific worksite of the employer.

If your employer offers you a full or partial Home Office, it is surely worth considering.

Below you should find all that you could gain, loose and what you should be aware of, even if only briefly.

Some of the clear benefits include especially:

  • You are limited by neither strict working hours nor a specific venue, not to mention the dress code, especially if you only need a computer and fast internet or, as the case may be, a car for your work, 
  • you plan your work at your own terms, no one tells you what to do, 
  • you can work in an atmosphere and environment you are used to and you enjoy, 
  • you can alternate work with relaxation and rest and you are closer to your family, 
  • you save money on daily commuting to work and back.

Having said that, not every Home Office work is suitable for every job – and for every employee. Home Office has its own distinctions and if you aren’t prepared or able to accept it, you better not even tried this form of work.

  • In a “common” work mode, you work at the worksite and rest at home, so your work is rather clearly distinguished from your private life. This doesn’t apply for working from Home Office. Your home is no longer exclusively a place of rest, but it is also your workplace where you have to develop suitable conditions for your work – both physical and mental.

When working from home, it is ideal to work from some work place (an independent office room is ideal whenever possible) and to avoid associating work with different places, watching TV, eating or sleeping. A vague line between work and relaxation results in you not doing any of it properly. You focus neither on your work, nor on your rest. And this shows: by poor results at work and insufficient rest through relaxation.

  • Home Office requires a consistent regime, strong will, good self-control, self-management and self-motivational skills and good time management. You might, for instance, find out that you have problem getting up in the morning when nothing makes you get to work on time. Perhaps you will not be able to focus at work when you’re not at your worksite and to stay away from distractions such as rest and fun naturally offered by the home environment.

For example, for some people, the fact of not being “under supervision” could result in constant postponing of tasks (procrastination).

  • Another potential problem you have to come to terms with when using Home Office is working without the possibility of an immediate personal contact with your colleagues. Humans are social creatures and even if you find working without colleagues convenient, sometimes you can perceive it as a considerable discomfort. Some might succumb to lonesomeness and lack of interest shown by others. This is a highly individual issue, yet it is good to be aware of such possibility and to be prepared for it.
  • Considering the above, you also have to set up a suitable form of communication and information sharing. Without frequent personal contact, you have to rely on technologies more. This is all right – you often work like that at your “common worksite” - but you also have to realize that relationships are not established between computers, phones, mail clients and messengers – but between people.
  • Yet another potential risk you should consider and clarify beforehand is the expectations of your household members. You might soon find out that your partner expect you to handle all housework, childcare, lawn mowing, fence varnishing and feeding the rabbits, chickens, dog and cat, amongst other things. Why, you are at home all day.

Be also aware of the fact that the use of Home Office could be beneficial for your employer (cost savings, higher employee satisfaction, better options to choose employees etc.), but at the same time highly risky. Working remotely naturally means:

  • More limited possibility to control the results of your work and your communication. 
  • Longer reaction time to possible errors (even if caused by actual miscommunication), requirements to quick changes or unsatisfactory work results. 
  • More demanding administration.
  • Higher demands/costs of personal data protection which are to a larger extent processed outside the company.

Because of the above and many other reasons, your employer will be very wary about who to agree on some form of Home Office work with and to what extent. For good results (ideally better than those achieved at “common worksite”) which form ground for satisfaction of both parties, two aspects are essential:

  • Very specific and detailed planning, setting of priorities, tasks, goals, deadlines, reporting and rules of communication so that the employer did not have to check the performance every day – this would to large extent degrade the benefits of Home Office and would hinder the full use of its potential. The principle of Home Office is based on you making the decisions about when, where and how you are going to do your work, yet at the beginning, it is advisable to set stricter mutual discipline. It is common to combine Home Office with employer’s worksite (partial Home Office), precisely set times for phone consultations, videoconferences etc.
  • Mutual trust. Your employer must have a considerable trust in you and confidence about your self-motivation and discipline. It is also an indication and acknowledgement that your employer trusts not only in your professional knowledge and skills, but also in your personal traits.

And if you decide to give Home Office a try, remember your employer expects better results from you than if you worked at the employer’s worksite.