Why More People Should Be Working From Home

As database professionals there isn’t much of a reason that we actual need to go into the office, other than to make other people in the office feel better because we are actually there in person.  In practice we don’t ever need to actually touch the physical hardware.  Meeting can easily enough all be done via phone, video chat, etc. (trust me, I do this all the time).  While it does take a little getting used to when it comes to using web conferencing and conference calls, but it really isn’t all that hard, I promise.

Working from home has some pretty big benefits when it comes to productivity.  The main one that I’ve seen in my years of working from home is that my productivity when working from home goes through the roof because people can’t just drop by to chat about whatever.  While they can still call or message on Skype, MSN, Yahoo, AIM, etc. those can be easily enough ignored if it isn’t something important.  Without the drive by conversations it’s amazing how much more I am able to get done during the day.  When it comes to getting from one meeting to another you can kill a lot of time just walking from one conference room to another.  At home I just hang up the phone and dial into the next conference bridge.

From a technical perspective everything that we data folks do is remote anyway.  We log onto servers using SSMS from our desktops.  Even if we RDP into a server to patch it or do some “local” work, we are still remote.  I’ve used remote desktop to connect to servers from WiFi in a hotel bar in Amsterdam so that I could get some work done.  Once you are used to not needing to physically touch the servers you are golden.

There are some financial benefits for the companies as well.  On average a standard cubical is about 8’x8′ or 64 square feet or space, per employee.  Every month those 64 square feet of space need to be paid for.  Figure it costs a couple of dollars per square foot for office space (I’m just guessing here, and your costs will vary widely depending on where you live) that’s a couple hundred dollars per employee, per month just to have me in the office.  That doesn’t include the power for my computers, AC to keep me comfy, etc.  And all of this is just to keep people happy because they can see me in the office.  If it’s that important have people come in one day a week for meetings, working from the conference room or some sort of shared space which can be used for other stuff while the remote workers aren’t actually in the office.

As we hopefully all remember, happy workers stick around longer and are much more productive.  If we can make our employees more productive and not spend any money doing it (and save the employee money on things like gas) why shouldn’t we?



8 Responses

  1. I’m lucky enough to work for a company that sees the value in allowing its employees to work remotely.  In addition to everything you said, there is another major benefit for the company.  The fact that I work more hours than I would if I were at the office.  With little separation between home and work space – I have an office, but generally site on my couch – it’s not unusual for me to be plunking away late into the evening. 

    From an employee standpoint, I’m saving money by not spending on gas and by eating healthier foods at home.

  2. When I do work from home I find myself working longer hours. I don’t mind, because if I’m close to finishing a project I just keep plugging away knowing there is no long commute home. If I am having one of those sleepless nights I can jump on and some work before the office even opens for the day. In New England if we get a bad snow storm I can  log on remotely and the company does not lose any production and my safety is assured. 

  3. I’d agree with all that, Chris (I made some additional points in the discussion on the forums). I think a home office (a room specifically for work) is a good idea to enforce that work-life separation; I too will work on my couch and it can be hard to turn off the to-do list when it’s time. 

  4. Couldn’t agree more.  I know that working from home in the last couple months has definitely added to my personal satisfaction.

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  6. not only all the above benefits it also keeps the spread of viruses down everyone that is sick could be home and not spreading germs to the rest of people, you are at home and with your on germs

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