I decided to write this post to share my opinion regarding working from home. Since the COVID pandemic hit us, lots of people moved from the offices to the coziness of their own homes. For a year and a half now, we are working from home and we enjoy it. Me, I haven’t been as happier at work as I am today. I can say that I finally enjoy work and my job. I will tell you why that is so.
Keep in mind that I have always been a fan of the remote work and now I became a work-from-home fanatic. That is why my opinion is pro working from home. You will mostly read pluses of the remote work. Your opinion might not match with mine, but who cares. My own happiness is what matters to me.
Before having the working from home option
When I was starting my career, the working from home option wasn’t there at all. You were supposed to be in the office, no matter if you like it or not. I remember when I went for the first time in the office. It was an open office type. There were long desks, shared by six people each. It seemed like there were too many people in too little space. The noise was too much. Even in the rarest occasions when nobody was speaking. There was always some movement – somebody was going somewhere, somebody else was returning from somewhere. It was so distracting; I wonder how we were able to work in such environment.
And how about the privacy? Don’t even get me started on that. All the time, there was somebody behind your back. You have the feeling that somebody is watching you all the time. Somebody is watching at your monitor what you are doing. You are always under the pressure to not do anything wrong.
Needless to say, that the productivity was not on the desired level. Since you are always distracted by something, how can you fully concentrate and do your job?
Now, when working from home, there is no such distractions. Unless you have kids and pets of course, but you can always find a solution to that. Working from home gives you the opportunity to work from anywhere so you can just go in a separate room like I do, go to some other quitter place, go in the woods or wherever you want. Just find the place, which suits you best.
Socializing with the colleagues
People say that the biggest benefit of the open office is that you have the opportunity to socialize with the colleagues. That may be true. But are we there to work or are we there to chit chat? Sure, it is fun speaking with the colleagues and learn something new (or gossips most of the time) and I won’t lie, I learned quite a lot useful thing from the colleagues.
But most of the time, the conversations are too much. You are just sitting there, trying to concentrate on the issue you have, and somebody just comes from nowhere and starts talking to you about things, 99% of the time you are not interested in. Or in some nearby desk a new conversation starts. And when that conversation is over, guess what? A new one starts somewhere else. They force you to listen to that conversation even if you are not interested. Putting the headphones and listening to music might also not be a solution, because this time the music will be distracting you.
Is the office the only place to socialize?
The office is not the place to socialize. You should do it outside the office, you should have friends out there and not rely only on the colleagues. Sure, during the day is fun to hang with your colleagues, but once the day is over, everybody goes home, and nobody will care about you. I know this is harsh, but it is the truth. Find some friends outside the office and hang with them. Hang outside, don’t turn the office into your social area or whatever.
Let me tell you about one colleague that we had in the office. I don’t know if that guy was working at all. Every time I saw him in the office, he was hanging at some of our female colleagues’ desk, chatting with her, probably disturbing her, not letting her do the job and so on. The girls were too kind to tell him to leave, but it was obvious that he shouldn’t be there. The guy has turned the office into his “hunting ground”, trying to pick some girls, but the girls were too smart to fall for that. At some point he left the company. He is disturbing colleagues somewhere else now.
When working from home, you can still socialize with the colleagues. Just call them or send them a message over Teams, Skype or whatever you are using. And you can always make an appointment to meet outside after the working day is over. Not directly seeing them will not affect your conversation.
Commute, and other spending
Let us look from the financial perspective. What might be the biggest spending of all, is the commute to work. In the same time commute to work is not just spending money, it is also spending time. A time, which you can spend with your family or friends. You will be spending at least 30-40 minutes of your day commuting. And that is just the time you waste. Also consider all the pressure and nerves – sitting in the traffic or traveling in overcrowded subway trains. We all have seen videos of people being pushed in order to fit into the trains. Do you want to experience this every weekday?
And it is not only the traffic, but also the weather conditions. You will not always commute in sunny days. There will be days of rain or snow and in those conditions the commute is nightmare. The time you spend will increase as well as the chances to get into a traffic accident. Do you want to risk your life?
The other spending
Then it comes the money you spend to buy new clothes or makeup or anything else to make you look good and impress the people you probably don’t like. Since I started working from home, I haven’t spent any money buying new clothes. The last time I bought clothes was before the pandemic.
Another spending is the money for lunch. The restaurants near the office building are more expensive, since they are the only place you can buy food. And the choice of food is not so big. I have been in situations that I had nothing to choose from the menu, so I had to buy salad. Of course, when working from home you will have to cook and waste time on that, but you can always cook before starting the work and you can always order.
Sure, when working from home you will have to pay more for bills like electricity, water, heating, coffee and so on, but the end when you do a comparison of what you have spent when you were going to the office and what you have spent working from home you will see the difference. At least I did.
Pros of working from home
I can list quite a lot of pros of working from home, but I will only write down those I found more important.
As I mentioned above, the commute wastes both your money and your time. Plus, it puts you under a big pressure. When working from home all you must do is just move from your bedroom to the room where you work from. You don’t have to wake up early, to prepare yourself, run to catch the bus or the subway, or get out with your car while the traffic is not yet intensive and you still can find a good place to park your car. All the time you waste with these unnecessary routines you can use for a good sleep, do some sport, or just spend time with your family.
And don’t forget that you need to go back from the office, which is yet more time to waste. While working remotely you just turn off your computer and you are already at home.
More time for you
Since you are not wasting time traveling to the work, preparing yourself, ironing clothes, putting makeup, shaving and so on, you have all that time for you. You can spend it on some hobby, which you always wanted to try. I have heard of people who go on skiing early in the morning and then come back just in time to start working. Now it is time to do the morning jogging, maybe do some gardening or something else. I personally discovered several new hobbies – astronomy, drone flying and gardening to name a few.
I know people, who spend two hours a day to prepare for work, travel to the work and then go back home. Two hours is too much time. You can spend it with your family and friends.
More time for your family
When you don’t have to waste time commuting to work or preparing for work, you have a plenty of time to spend with your family. You can play with your kids, teach them something new, help them with their homework and be useful for their personal development. You will be less absent, and I guarantee that they will be happier. Kids need time with their parents, and we should provide them with that time.
Or you can spend more time with your spouse. How many times have you returned tired from the office and tired from all the commute you did? And all you want to do is just sit in front of the TV/PC and watch something. Now, you have the time to take out your wife on a romantic dinner or prepare a romantic dinner for your husband. When working from home, you will have time for all this.
Living wherever you want
The problem with the offices is that they are located in the big cities. This forces you to live in a big city. The life in the big city is not easy. The pressure is too big. The traffic, the people, the crime rate, the prices, the pollution, everything is too much. Most of the big cities don’t have good parks where you can go and relax. Even if they have, the access is not so easy. You are stuck in one concrete jungle. At some point you get tired of all that.
When working from home you can go and live on some smaller town or even a village. You will have all you need to feel good. Less traffic, calm, parks and good nature, no pollution, fresh air and so on. Just relax and be more productive.
I have lived in big cities for 15 years now. I hate them so much I can’t even tell. The only advantage that I found in the big cities is that there are lots of shops and you can buy whatever you need, any day of the week any time of the day. But even in the small towns and villages you can find the things you need the most. You can always go the nearby city or town and buy what you need. And don’t forget that you can always order online.
The last city I lived in is Sofia, Bulgaria. It is a typical post-socialism city. All you see is people, traffic, and buildings, which were built before 1980. And you must live in such a building with tens even hundreds of people. Finding a place to park your car might be impossible. It is always noisy, most of the neighbors are some nasty people, garbage is everywhere, the pollution is high, traffic is bad and so on and so forth.
If you have a family and kids it is even worse. There aren’t enough kindergartens, so you need to find some private, expensive kindergarten or find somebody else to look for your kids. The situation with the schools is similar. You will have to put your kid in some school far away from your home so you will have to spend even more time to get it to and from the school. The city has a limit for 700 000 – 800 000 people but currently more than 2 000 000 people live there.
I have a house in one village, which has all I need to work – internet connection. Here I have a kindergarten which is 10 minutes’ walk from my home, the school is right across my house, we have shops, there is a city nearby, where I can get anything I need. The village is quiet, surrounded by a beautiful nature, a river passes through it. It is the perfect place to work and live and relax at the same time. In the house I have a separate room where I can work from. That is why I prefer working from home.
I found myself being more productive working from home than working from the office. I am alone in the room, there is no noise or people, going forth and back. There is nothing to distract me. I am fully concentrated on my work.
You will find lots of researches (here is one), stating that people working from home are more productive. I can see for myself and I am pretty sure lots of you will back me up on this.
When working from home you don’t have to worry about your commute back home in the intensive traffic, no need to worry how much time you will spend on that. All you must focus are your tasks.
When you get tired, you can go out to your balcony or in the near garden, relax a bit and then go back to work. Nobody will be stressing you.
The time you spend commuting you can spend on finishing some tasks or some useful activities. I, for example find time to write blog posts and keep this blog growing. You can find some interesting topics like how to: .NET: Using Azure Key Vault With Certificate Outside of Azure
Despite people saying that when working from home you lose touch with the reality and you work over your limits, it is not true. At least for me. I can detach at any point and leave the work. I haven’t overworked up to this day.
Cons of working from home?
None. Nada. Are you kidding me?
OK, but serious now. There might be some cons of working from home. But they are individual to each person. For me, the only cons I can think of is that I don’t walk anymore to the office. Previously, I used to walk from my home to the subway station and from the subway station to the office. It is not that big distance but still I was doing some steps. Now, during the workday I am mostly staying at home, so my movements are less that before. Still, once the work is over, I can go out and do some serious walk. So, it is not so big of a challenge. Anyway, let me count at least one con so anti home-office people will read this article :).
I presented you my opinion on the remote way of work. As I said, I am a home-office fanatic, so I am pro working from home. I do not consider any job that does not provide this option as a good job opportunity. Whenever some recruiter on LinkedIn contacts me with a proposal, the first thing I ask is whether the company provides remote work opportunity.
The COVID pandemic changed the way we work for good. I hope that from now on, the managers will see that working from home is a good alternative and will let their employees work as they desire.
What do you think? Share your opinion in the Comments section and let us discuss.
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Passionate developer, loving husband and caring father. As an introvert programming is my life. I work as a senior software engineer in a big international company. My hobbies include playing computer games (mostly World of Warcraft), watching TV series and hiking.