Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Is working from home what you expected?

Is working from home all it's cracked up to be? Thomas Klassen argues 'No' in last week's Globe and Mail article, but what do you think?

It was so odd for me to read this article as I have not had the same issues as Thomas.  I would love to hear what the other pilot members think.

Ta ta


  1. I think it all goes back to 'what you expect'. Some people picture working from home as being somehow 'easier' or more 'laid back' but when I started working from a home office more than a decade ago I found that I ended the day exhausted.

    When I explored what was happening - I found that I had increased my productivity so much (no wasted time walking to people's offices or casual visiting) that my brain needed time to adjust.

    At the same time, I learned to set boundaries and permit myself to take advantage of the flexibility of being home based to set my hours to fit my lifestyle.

    Now I know that a traditional work arrangement is not a fit for me :)

  2. I also think what makes our pilot so successful is that we combined flexible work arrangements with ROWE

  3. After reading Thomas Klassen's article about his experience, I can't help but think that he did a BRUTAL job at trying to set up a good work environment at home. I think his first "challenge" (having to explain to everyone around him that he works from home) is laughable. To consider that his top challenge indicates to me that he is a bit socially awkward. How challenging is it to say "I have a home office"? If he had trouble just telling people about it, no wonder he had so much difficulty actually doing it!

    The other key thing that stood out for me about Thomas's article is he obviously did not properly create a plan with his family for working from home. I think all of us in the pilot have learned that we need to set clear boundaries with our families about coming into our home offices (when we're working and even when we're not) and interacting with us when we're working from home. Obviously this can be difficult when you have small children at home, but I know several of my colleagues who have established some "rules" about what is and isn't appropriate and they've made it work just fine after working through a few bugs at the outset. It seems to me that Thomas couldn't figure out how to do that, so instead he wants to have his "real office" back as a retreat, so he doesn't have to deal with the issue.

    I know my comments may sound a bit harsh because the challenges with working from home are very different for everyone, however, Thomas Klassen never gave me the sense that he did much to try and overcome those difficulties. That being said, Thomas does demonstrate another key finding that we've learned about flexible working, which is that it quickly identifies the top talent and the mediocre. Strong performers are industrious and adaptable. They figure out how to overcome obstacles and they're confident enough to go out of their comfort zones. Those are the types of employees that make great things happen for organizations and the kind of people I like to surround myself with.