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working from home - the reality

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Posted (edited)

Whilst I appreciate that a fair few contributors on here have already retired, I do believe that most people (retired or otherwise) have a view on this topic. Also, hopefully there are others who do or have work from home for an employer.

Where I work, at the start of the pandemic in mid March 2020, those staff who fell into a vulnerable category, such as asthma, auto immune diseases, obesity and over age 70, were compelled to work from home. In some cases this even meant setting them up with a wifi connection. Then in February 2021 it was extended, as an offer, to those over 60, then a few weeks after that, they decided that anybody who wanted it could have it. Of course, not everybody did, and quite a few continued to work in the office, either because they didn't like the idea, or for whatever reason, it just wasn't practicable for them to work from home.   

So having now worked from home for just over two years, one year 100% from home, and the following year hybrid 60/40 home/office, these are my views of the pros and cons.


1/ Get far far more work cleared at home than ever I would in the office. Many fewer interruptions, and able to concentrate more intensely.

2/ Absence of irritating colleagues and office politics. They become wholly irrelevant. Also, far fewer pointless time consuming meetings.

3/ 100% removal of commuting time, and for those reliant on public transport, no risk of contracting covid from fellow travellers on buses and trains. Also, for us all, no risk of contracting covid in the office. Not nearly so much of an issue now, I know, but back in early 2021, it was highly relevant.

4/ Able to log on and do work such as e learning and other bits, at any time, whereas 100% in the office you are confined to office hours only.

5/ Can get up later, dress more casually, and in Summer go straight out into the garden with a cold drink on warm sunny day, after logging off.


1/  Can't just turn to someone and ask verbally for advice on a technical issue. If you e mail or MS Teams message them, as often as not you get ignored, or just a curt unhelpful response. Although I have always gone out of my way to help colleagues who've contacted me.

2/ Managers often mysteriously unavailable for hours on end - showing as red on their profiles.

3/ If you attend an MS Teams meeting (or Zoom, whatever) you have to be very careful what you say (be bland, technical and boring) as the meetings can be recorded and could be used against you. Hasn't happened where I work, but I have heard of instances. 

Also make sure you are fully attired. Especially important in hot weather. Don't switch your camera on until you are certain there is nothing that can embarrass you. I don't include pets in that as cats and dogs photobombing the camera, seems to go down well.  

4/  If you complete your work on any given day, it's easy to get bored and literally fall asleep. That would never happen in the office. 

5/ Mouse "jigglers" are available from Amazon and the like. These shake the mouse every two minutes to make it appear as though you are always on line and working (shown as green). This is doing a real number on your employer, and not a lot they can do about it. Dishonest and wrong on every level.     

WFH has received a very bad press in some parts of the media, but it does have some extremely good points. Although medium to long term, offices will shrink and some will be sold off, as it obviously won't be cost effective to keep them open when they're half empty. In fact that's already happening.  




Edited by 1949threepence
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Interesting. Daughter has decided that WFH just doesn't work for her. She gets distracted and needs the routine of going to a specific place for specific hours. Difficult for new starters if the people training you aren't physically present and you can't just call across the office for advice as you can in person. She also missed the social side having made some good friends in previous jobs. Where she currently works they have set days when the team all attend and it seems to work OK. 

But I also see that for many the benefits of not having to commute and working more to your own schedule is a positive.

I work in a shop, so doesn't really apply. 

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