The Pros and Cons of Work From Home
I noted Minister Conroy saying Australia needs to encourage more work from home with Australian employees. It’s great to see a minister who no doubt spends a very small amount of time at home, encouraging this practice. I am not being snide here, I think it is, however for this act to gain traction working from home needs to be a win/win for the employer AND the employee.
I am lucky enough to work from home one day a week. It’s something I negotiated with my employer (ok, that is me), because on Sunday mornings I work (broadcasting the Life and Technology radio show on 2GB/MTR) which is normally a time when most of us do not.
Working from home is my way of spending more time with my family to put back for the time I spend away. It’s great, but I am true to the promise of when working at home, I work from home. I don’t hang out the washing, mow lawns, and clean the kitchen etc, unless it is during a scheduled break.
I get a lot of value from the practise, and in my experience, even working from home one day a week is a winner for many. For me the benefits are obvious. I save money, I save stress, I see my family more and I also am able to spend time working on tasks I never get to at the office because of whatever interruption is going on in the regular work day. For example I have been interrupted three times writing this blog already. I have also found that Friday afternoon is rarely a heavily active time of the week for work, with few urgent calls or emails coming in that require office located attention.
No doubt the people in my area get lots of value from the practice to. I don’t drive my car in the street between 7am and 7:30am when I am usually going to work, less traffic congestion. I don’t compete at the local train station car park with my car. I don’t take up a seat on the train and I don’t then repeat it all, but in reverse on the way home in the afternoon.
My employer, (which I will say again, is me) because I am able to spend Sunday mornings broadcasting a radio show, earning the business income and also I have noticed the work I am doing from home is of a higher quality of output for the task I am doing, because my thinking is less interrupted.
I can’t see any losers from the above.
Minister Conroy, you are right, there are no losers here, we all need to encourage more of this practice.
Then I read this article about an incident where an employee was hurt at home, while working. Ouch, this is a messy factor that starts tipping the scales in the opposite direction. Not commenting on the incident, as I only have the article to go on, however this is where the practice gets scary for any employer. Why encourage employees to work from home if an occurrence such as this is the outcome.
What is the solution here? Stopping the work from home option is not going work. Remember, we are building a $30 billion fibre network that will encourage it. So Minister, over to you and the rest of the pollies to sort the laws to ensure ALL sides win in the ‘work from home’ challenge. No point singing the praise of a new fibre network for work at home opportunities if the law is a deterrent on such a practice occurring.
About Charlie Brown
Charlie Brown is one of Australia's foremost commentators on consumer lifestyle technology. He publishes, produces and hosts CyberShack, is Channel 9's technology expert, and hosts Life & Technology and 2GB and NewsTalk 4BC.
Charlie is able to communicate, educate and inspire a huge audience, without confusing technological jargon.
Life & Technology is on the air Sunday mornings at 10am on 2GB and NewsTalk 4BC.