Working from home

Hi,

lm interested to hear from anyone who has or currently does work from home.  I applied for a job that I thought would be more hybrid but have since found out it will be mostly remote work from home.

On the face of it, I can see the benefits of it but I’m just concerned I’ll miss the ‘structure’ of a working day and that the line between work and home life will become blurred, I’ve always thought of my home as my sanctuary, to get away from work and relax etc.  I’m also wondering if I might find it isolating.  I’m not an extrovert and there are days when colleagues annoy the hell out of me but I wonder if I’d miss the interaction.

If you have worked from home did you prefer it? what do you consider the main downsides to it?

Many thanks,
«13

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  • MrsStepford
    MrsStepford Posts: 1,492
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    Husband has worked from home a lot. He was able to go for a walk with phone, sit in the park or on beach with laptop, work in pub with soft drinks and nip out to local convenience stores for snacks. He would do bits of housework too, like stick the washing machine on, iron a couple of shirts, start supper earlier in oven or slow cooker, make stock.  He didn't have a problem with that.

    If you have a problem about home being only for relaxing, you are in the wrong job. 


  • Dakta
    Dakta Posts: 551
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    edited 19 October 2023 at 7:04PM
    Everyone will be different.

    I've sort of found myself at points where I've done all 3 - I've been permanent at the office, I've been hybrd(2 days in/3 out) and also full time wfh.

    Personally I preferred working from home - BUT - I did come into the office occasionally, not enough to call it hybrid (so think once a month) but I did because I do value at least getting into see people now and then.

    The ideal is obviously a very personal thing, but working from home has some great advantages, no commute (saves time AND money and the planet as well), if you have a good team and a little self discipline it won't be that much different to being in the office in terms of work output. You are correct though it can be a little isolating, I found myself going out of my way to strike up some banter on teams otherwise it got quite straining and if you're an introvert like me where work is sort of that only excuse to get out of the house it can kill that dead and make it so you never need to see the sun or sky. But with a bit of self discipline (do slurp away for a coffee/dont take the mickey) it works quite well.

    I think in the long run WFH does deteriorate health as it picks at the boundaries between home and work, but I beleive you can shake this up by investing in your home life and making an exceptional break into the office even if not a rota'd thing. 

    Hybrid was in some ways the best mix, but my commute was hell - you do get the best of both though (social/work seperation)

    working permanently from the office, i'd want to avoid doing this again as it's a bit too much the other way but you do get that seperation



  • elsien
    elsien Posts: 32,275
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    edited 19 October 2023 at 7:18PM
    Work from home only works for me because it’s hybrid. 
    The routine isn’t an issue although I do find myself wandering down to the kitchen and shovelling toast in my face as a displacement activity more often than I should.
    When I first started home working, I used the dining room table and that was horrible because it was just there all the time. So now I’ve converted a spare bedroom into an office so I can close the door on it at the end of the day.
    There is a temptation to keep working at 5 o’clock and not stopping when you should stop. 
    My job involves getting out and visiting people two or three days a week and that’s why it works for me. I couldn’t do a job sitting at the computer five days a week, regardless of where it was so that’s relevant as well.
    it was isolating during Covid and my colleagues started at that time. I really haven’t got much of a relationship with at all. I do think you need that face-to-face interaction with your coworkers effective working relationships, even if it’s only once in a while. 

    I also couldn’t do what Mrs Stepford’s husband did because I have to log as close to 100% of my time as I can.  Going to the shop or starting tea is fine to do during the lunch break, but interrupting work to shove a bit of laundry in isn’t going to be happening any other time. But that probably depends on your employer and how  closely monitored you are..


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  • annabanana82
    annabanana82 Posts: 2,944
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    I've been primarily wfh since March 2020, I tend to go in 1 or 2 days a week. I really miss the old office working environment, this new hybrid working just doesn't work for me - at least in the team I'm now in. 

    I find the 60-90 minute commute tiresome and it's time I could have been spent working. In the office people stop and talk far more as we only see each other once a week. 

    New recruits are getting a poor deal as their on the job training isn't what it should be. People that started during covid think they don't have to come into the office as they've demonstrated for 3 years they can do their job from home.

    I've lost a sense of belonging in my employment, but I don't really want to pick back up the tab of fuel costs for a 5 day commute.

    Some people thrive WFH others need the face to face interaction with others to help them through the day. 

    I work in a large organisation and every team has a different set up, so whilst I don't like what I've got now, I can hope my next role is better 
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  • hugheskevi
    hugheskevi Posts: 3,744
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    edited 19 October 2023 at 8:26PM
    On the face of it, I can see the benefits of it but I’m just concerned I’ll miss the ‘structure’ of a working day and that the line between work and home life will become blurred, I’ve always thought of my home as my sanctuary, to get away from work and relax etc.
    You can self-impose structure if you think that would be beneficial to you - many of my colleagues prefer to have a separate room in the house (or even a separate building in the garden/garage) in which they work regular hours, only going into the rest of the house during breaks.
    I’m also wondering if I might find it isolating.  I’m not an extrovert and there are days when colleagues annoy the hell out of me but I wonder if I’d miss the interaction.
    I got into the habit when working from home of sometimes starting the day by going to see friends at a nearby dog-park. Lunch-times can involve a walk and/or outdoor chores such as shopping, and evening is the normal social activities.

    I found WFH made some things much more enjoyable, eg, away-days, hotel stays, etc. When these were part of a full-day week they were generally burdensome, whereas when WFH they were much more enjoyable.
    If you have worked from home did you prefer it? what do you consider the main downsides to it?
    The main thing for me was a removal of routines linked to work. In particular, when working in the office I always used to make my own lunch and take in my own food. I made sure this was very healthy. I would also cycle to work, and a couple of times a week go running with my running club after work. So that all contributed to a decent amount of exercise and good food. When working from home, those routines were much diluted, as I ate less healthy food I made hastily at lunchtime, snacked more, and went running on my own which was not as much fun, more prone to be ditched, and wasn't as energetic.

    I used to work Mon-Thu in office and Friday at home. That was good. WFH full-time was nice for a while, very nice in winter, but not good in summer and after a long time. I also had the benefit of knowing my colleagues well, which makes a big difference - you just don't get the same knowledge of people if you have only ever met them online, and things just seem a bit more formal and less friendly.

    My next role I plan to do the same 2 days in the same office each week, and visit another office every other week for a single day. I think that will be the ideal combination for me of routine combined with flexibility.
    Husband has worked from home a lot. He was able to go for a walk with phone, sit in the park or on beach with laptop, work in pub with soft drinks and nip out to local convenience stores for snacks. He would do bits of housework too, like stick the washing machine on, iron a couple of shirts, start supper earlier in oven or slow cooker, make stock.  He didn't have a problem with that.
    These are definitly some of the better things about WFH. Although with camera monitoring, keyboard logging, etc, some employers will not be as conducive to this sort of flexibility. 

    Exercise can be a big thing with WFH, so going for a walk whilst in a meeting you expect to be mostly listening to can be a very good option if available.
    The ideal is obviously a very personal thing
    Very much agree - and it depends a lot on a person's living arrangements. WFH for a young person in a house share is much less attractive than it is for a middle aged person living in a spacious house with plenty of space and spare rooms.
    Hybrid was in some ways the best mix, but my commute was hell - you do get the best of both though (social/work seperation)
    I found commute was a big deal - when able to cycle 35 minutes in to work mostly through quiet streets and parks, take a shower and start work, the day was very pleasant. Whereas when we moved office and the commute become one hour on 3 different forms of transport I was far less keen to go into the office.
    There is a temptation to keep working at 5 o’clock and not stopping when you should stop. 
    I found this a good thing - I became involved in animal rescue, so could sometimes flex things around that, eg, leaving at 4pm if I had no meetings, then working later in the evening instead. Although for some that won't be an option.
    New recruits are getting a poor deal as their on the job training isn't what it should be. People that started during covid think they don't have to come into the office as they've demonstrated for 3 years they can do their job from home.
    This has been an issue for us too. There is no normalising effect that being in the office provides, and new recruits (especially those starting their first ever job) have sometimes found it difficult to understand how they are performing compared to their peers, seeing different approaches to tasks, etc. Often they just end up spending a lot of time with their line manager and in bigger meetings, and miss out on other forms of interaction you would naturally get in the office.

    The final thing I would say is that WFH gave rise in our organisation to a lot more pointless meetings. We previously faced the challenge of getting available rooms in our office to meet in, and setting up an in-person meeting was a lot more phaff than an online meeting. When everyone went to WFH suddenly meetings could be set up in just a minute, and anyone could be invited (previously even if you got a room, there would be a size limit). Hence there were a lot of low-value meetings scheduled. I would suggest that after about a month, you consider all your meetings and judge whether you think you need to attend.
  • OrbitHeadache
    OrbitHeadache Posts: 260
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    edited 19 October 2023 at 9:46PM
    I love WFH.

    Going into the office is pointless because all everyone does is use teams to communicate and do other tasks using variety of systems.

    All team meetings are also done online.

    You will have to weigh up the costs though will saving on petrol costs offset the increased cost of utility bills  from WFH?
  • Kerreh
    Kerreh Posts: 86
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    I hate WFH

    WFH Mar 2020 - Jan 2022
    My home is small - the IT kit had to stay on the kitchen table (and the kitchen/living room is one small room with no spare bedroom) all the time so I had no space

    Since Jan 2022 I've been back in the office - but I'm the only one so that's no better and my morale is at an all time low

    I think space is an important factor that others have touched upon - do you have somewhere you can work from and then close the door on at the end of the day?
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  • TELLIT01
    TELLIT01 Posts: 16,251
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    My wife worked from home during Covid (I'm retired) and I got mad with her for working far longer hours than she would have done if she had been in the office.  As the office was only a 10 minute drive from home she didn't benefit much from reduced commuting time.  What did wind her up was being able to see that other people really were taking advantage of the situation.  All staff had access to a central system showing who was on, and she could also see one person's Facebook.  That person in particular was on and off Facebook all day, also stupid enough to post about how much time she was spending with the kids etc.
    My wife was happier once she was back in the office, in part because of the face to face working, office gossip, actually hearing about what was happening in the business etc.
  • Everyone is different and I also think the point you are at in your career can play a big part in it. 
    Personally, I love WFH and never want to work in an office ever again under any circumstances. I left my last job in 2021 when they started making noises about people going back to the office and am now freelance in the same industry - so WFH permanently. 
    However, if I was still early in my career and needed to the ropes from others more, or wanted to make lots of new connections and networks in the industry - the benefits of being in the office on that front can't really be replicated at home. 

    I love WFH partly because I'm an introvert - being around people all day is very draining to me and I used to find ad-hoc meetings and desk conversations very distracting - really bad for my productivity. I live alone (pets aside) and have done for about 15 years, so I don't get lonely or feel isolated. I still communicate regularly with my clients on video calls etc and see friends etc outside of work probably more than before, because I'm not always exhausted from the daily commute. 

    Also, I had a dog pre-pandemic, who was perfectly fine being left while I went to work (with garden access), but she's now passed on and I have adopted two new rescue dogs since, who absolutely would not be OK to be left for a full day. Being able to be at home during the day is a huge plus - and I am able to be pretty disciplined with it - and still work in a structured way so I finish every day at 5pm, take a proper break for lunch and my weekends stay free etc. I eat more healthily at home than I did working at the office (next to a Greggs ha) and save on travel costs. 

    The space is my only issue. I have a small house and no way to have a separate area for work that I close off when I'm done. But I do take small steps like powering my laptop down and moving the desk into the corner when I finish working, then don't go back to it until the next time I work. I am planning to move at some point to a house that will give me more flexibility for things like this long-term - but that's a medium term plan rather than an urgent need. 
  • DullGreyGuy
    DullGreyGuy Posts: 9,151
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    It is exceptionally personal but it is also dependent on your job and what the people you are interacting with are doing (both home and work). 

    Pre-covid I mainly worked in the office, now officially hybrid with 3+ days in the office. Mrs doesn't have fixed working patterns. 

    Personally, when WFH I find I work less intensively but longer hours so in the wash it probably evens out. I find it easier to get distracted at home... doorbell goes, can hear the oven ping to say lunch is ready, wife cursing as she's walked into a table or such. Similarly if you're in a meeting where there are 8 people in a room together and you are remote on a computer then you simply cannot hear all the conversations going on at the same time as well/read the body language, you're easily forgotten, its easy to get distracted by an email coming in etc

    I'm lucky in that I have a short commute to work that costs little. When working from home I get accused of still being in work mode when I finish, was the same when I lived a 5 minute walk from the office. I find the 30 minute commute gives time to unwind and get out of work mode, the Mrs even used to encourage me to stop at the pub back when I had the short walk home.

    When we were 100% from home during covid I was fortunate and allowed to work from overseas and so could escape British weather etc. 

    All in all, I prefer working in the office with the flexibility to work from home when wanted/needed. If working from home is required then I'd rather it be truly 100% and anywhere in the world (happy to still work UK timezone) but there is very little of that available.
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