Is working from home right for everyone?

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While some enjoy the so-called perks of working from home, many employees never get this opportunity or option. At some point we all roll out of bed in the morning and wonder wouldn’t it just be easier to be able to turn on our computer and sit at our desk at home to get our work done? If many of us mostly work using the Internet and phone, why can’t we just stay home and wouldn’t it boost morale anyway? Well, for those of us who sometimes have this passing wistful hope, consider the article titled, Teleworkers confess biggest at-home distractions recently posted to Employee Benefits News.

According to the article, working from home isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. While many of us assume it would be easier we forget just how easy it is to get distracted in a home office or alternate environment. It seems that when working from home, some actually have to inconvenience themselves to a degree to assure they work during the day instead of watch television, their children or surf the net. As the article reads, “I’m working from home today, and I won’t lie — it’s a tough day. I’m still exhausted from a long three days at Benefits Forum & Expo, and returned home to gray weather and scores of to-do items that had been piling up while I was gone. I’m tired and overwhelmed, and it would be easy and wonderful to chuck it all and go veg out on my couch. It would be too easy, in fact. So, instead of trying to work from the living room I’m fighting temptation by working from the island in my kitchen — lots of light, a high-backed chair and no remote control for as far as my eyes can see. So far, so good.”

So what else do people get distracted by at home while they’re supposed to be on the proverbial clock? “… According to a new CareerBuilder survey, some of my fellow teleworkers are giving in to their darker angels. The survey finds that teleworkers confessed to their top distractions when working from home:

  • Household chores (31%). 
  • TV (26%). 
  • Pets (23%). 
  • Errands (19%). 
  • Internet (18%). 
  • Children (15%).

In fact, some are so distracted (perhaps by all of the above), that 17% of Americans who telework at least part of the time spend one hour or less actually working.”

Aside from the obvious distractions, working from home doesn’t work for everyone by the simple fact that there is a sigh of relief when one can leave the office at the end of the day and step away from work. There’s something about bringing the workplace into the home that makes it harder to actually relax once you have completed all of your work if there’s no real separation from work and home. It can make working from home even more difficult for some than others and trying to unwind nearly impossible. The article does make a suggestion for those that do want to actually work from home sans distractions:

“‘To avoid situations where teleworkers aren’t putting in the necessary time, managers need to be clear about expectations and establish daily objectives,’ says Rosemary Haefner, vice president of HR at CareerBuilder. ‘The autonomy of working from home can be very rewarding so long as it doesn’t diminish productivity.’

Haefner recommended the following tips to help teleworkers work as efficiently as possible:

- Keep a normal routine.
- Find the best spot to work.
- Stay connected to colleagues.
- Plan breaks.
- Work at a coffee shop to maintain human contact.”

Of course for a number of employees, working from home is not only easier, but also necessary. Some have schedules that they must balance their personal lives with work and that is the only possible way for them to take on a job with other responsibilities. For example, there are people going back to school to get an advanced degree and must attend a class or two during normal work hours. There are also some that have children and would rather opt for an alternat
ive at home work schedule than spend the usual 9-5 in an office. Essentially, everyone is different when it comes to discipline when working at home.

As the article inquires, “What are your tricks for staying productive when working from home?”


About Kate Gamble

Known to have her hands in a ton of things at one time - Kate is a confessed news junkie and proud Dean’s List grad. Whether she’s working the PR or HR side of her brain, her computer’s mouse or her Dremel (she makes handcrafted jewelry too!), Kate delivers the energy, commitment, and detail-orientation that are a perfect mix for Alstin.