Telecommuting is awesome, except when it sucks.

Telecommuting is the holy grail of IT work. You save a ton of money on gas, and you don’t have to work in a cube farm. You can decorate however you see fit and wear what ever you’d like to (or as little as you’d like to) when you work.

However everything isn’t all roses and puppy dogs…

Working from home does have its downsides.  You’ll probably have to trust me on this as not many people actually get to work from home full time.  When you work in an office you talk to your coworkers all day long, or at least for a good portion of the day.  When you work from home all you get is the occasional phone call or IM message.  While this sounds great, and it is when you are busy and just need to get lots of stuff done, the occasional distraction is nice when you haven’t had it in a while.

Now it gets worse when your other half has a job, then you are at home working alone all day with no human interaction during the day.  Now my wife is home during the day so when she’s home during the day I get some interaction which is very nice.  Until I worked from home full time I never realized just how social a person I was, and how much I liked talking to people.

When working from home you can break up the monotony a bit by getting out of the house.  Grab the laptop and hit a bookstore or coffee shop and work from there every once in a while.  If you don’t, and you aren’t careful you’ll end up like I was a few weeks back; sitting there trying to figure out when the last time you actually left the house was, for the record the answer was 5 days.  If I didn’t have to eat I wouldn’t have gone downstairs for that same amount of time probably.

So while working from home sometimes is great, I think a combination where you actually go to the office and working from home is probably the best combination.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not volunteering for that 63 mile drive (each way) any time soon, but it work was closer say 20-30 miles I’d probably go in and sit on the couch and work every once and a while.  There is just something that you get from being their with your co-workers.  Working remotely you miss some information that comes out of the hallway meetings and the quick side discussions.

For those of you that work from home, Brent (@BrentO) I’m talking to you here since I don’t know to many people that blog often that work from home, post your thoughts on the topic.



2 Responses

  1. I work from home 4-5 days/week Denny. I’ve been telecommuting in some capacity since 2000. I’ve always told people that telecommuting is not for everyone, but for those who it works for – it works amazingly well. I often tell my Manager that my day in the office is my day off since I have a difficult time with all the noise and “walk-up” work that comes my way when I’m there. I’ve been telecommuting since the days of dial-up when I’d need to dial-in just to check email. Now with the prevelance of high-speed internet, instant messaging, and all the other media advancements of the past 10 years it is far easier to stay in contact with your co-workers and get more accomplished remotely than you could in the past.

  2. For a time I was working from home 3-4 days a week on average, and I started to learn to schedule “distractions” that would get me out of the house and force breaks, like laundry, groceries, appointments. I think having something break up my schedule not only let me mentally refresh, but gave me a series of mini-deadlines to work with: I have to get this done by 10:30 a.m. or else it won’t get done until lunch.

    Plus, I don’t know how you don’t go crazy without fresh air for 5 days!

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