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Flexibility is what is called for when working from home

The concept of 8 to 5, 40-hour work weeks itself is outdated for it is an arbitrary standard of measure that was designed to help exploited factory works in the 19th Century.

In Summary

• Among the most common tips shared in many of these articles is keeping regular hours, having a daily plan for work, and getting dressed like you’re going to the office

This is a misleading notion to have for in the 17 years I’ve been working from home, with career glitches here and there where I worked in an office, I can tell you that working from home is nothing like working in an office.

Image: OZONE

•  The coronavirus pandemic has seen governments around the world actively encourage people to work from home, where possible, in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.

For many, this working from home business will be the first time they’ll have had to work away from an office. So, naturally, a plethora of advice articles on just how to do that have been floating about on the internet and in print.

Among the most common tips shared in many of these articles is keeping regular hours, having a daily plan for work, and getting dressed like you’re going to the office, even if you’re not leaving the house. The impression I got from many of these articles was that they seemed to suggest it is possible to sit at a desk in front of a computer for eight hours a day at home as you do in the office.

 

This is a misleading notion to have for in the 17 years I’ve been working from home, with career glitches here and there where I worked in an office, I can tell you that working from home is nothing like working in an office.

There will be distractions at home, especially now with the kids not going to school. Some days you’ll be less motivated to work than others. And free from the hawk-eyed attentions of a manager or supervisor making sure you put in the mandatory office ‘seat time’, you’ll often fall into the temptation of just vegging out and watching a movie or something. What this means is most of your days working from home won’t go as planned so setting a daily work schedule will only stress you out.

It is far better instead to have weekly work to-do lists or even a month schedule because some days you’ll work an hour, other days you’ll manage four hours, and then there’ll be those days you put in 10 hours straight. Flexibility is what is called for when working from home as your focus has to now shift to output, from ‘sit at a desk for eight hours a day, every day, pretending to work.’

The other thing about working from home is you need to relax. This means you don’t have to wear a suit and tie in the house if you don’t want to; you wear whatever makes you feel comfortable. It also means find the work rhythm that suits you and stop thinking, I should be working for eight hours day, five days a week.

This idea that we have to be constantly working at home like we ‘fake work’ at the office, where we pretend to work but we’re really on social media or shopping online is a dated way of thinking about work. The concept of 8 to 5, 40-hour work weeks itself is outdated for it is an arbitrary standard of measure that was designed to help exploited factory works in the 19th Century.

Work has changed a bit since then and if you’re working from home then you don’t have to bring with you to the house this factory settings model of working. Think differently about work especially if you’re working from home because, in the 21st Century, work is not somewhere you go, it is something you do.