Working From Home Reality Check: No, Your Employees Aren’t All Doing Yoga and Folding Laundry

by Evil HR Lady on March 17, 2020

People are working at home at record levels–some happily and some not so happily. Some managers are supportive of this, and some are convinced that their employees will do nothing but, well this all day:

Please ignore this tweet. This is not working at home. This is being home. This is a day off.

Now, as someone who has worked from home for 13 of the last 16 years, I can tell you that laundry is a lot easier to get washed (but not folded, because folding laundry is the worst). And it’s super handy when one of my children is sick because God gave us Netflix and unlimited screen time when a child has a fever. 

But, this is not what normal working from home looks like. When we work from home normally, schools and daycares are not closed so your children should be at school, at daycare, or there should be someone else doing primary childcare. That can be a spouse or a nanny, but the employee is not the one changing diapers, playing board games, or cleaning up the playroom.

To keep reading, click here: Working From Home Reality Check: No, Your Employees Aren’t All Doing Yoga and Folding Laundry

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

grannybunny March 17, 2020 at 4:00 pm

Telecommuting has been shown to actually boost productivity. However, it has long been opposed by certain “butt in seats” managers, who have been unable to figure out how to manage their employees remotely. Here in America, we also find our Government in the somewhat schizophrenic position of recently opposing telecommuting and trying to totally eliminate — or, at least, to drastically minimize it — only to have to turn right around and push it, in response to the covid-19 pandemic.

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Kathy March 17, 2020 at 4:27 pm

That’s what my company thought: that “work at home” means “getting paid to sit home and do nothing.” At ex-company, though, our team was from all over the world. I moved home because nobody on my team was in the local office anyway. Then I was butt-in-seat in my home work area but conversing with coworkers all day by chat and phone conference. Team etiquette required flagging presence as AFK if you left your desk for a minute and OUT if you left for the day, so we adhered to work time just like we did in the company office. The only difference between work-at-home and the office was quieter surroundings (no wonder home workers are more productive!) and being able to meet my husband in the kitchen during lunch break.

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IT Manager March 17, 2020 at 5:03 pm

Is working from home more productive? In my experience, the answer is more complicated that a simple yes or no. It depends first and foremost on the person. I have employees who are more productive working from home. The reason that they are more productive is because they are hard-workers anyway. Once you take away the unnecessary meetings and interruptions, they have more time to get work done.

I have other employees who are not as productive working from home. Generally speaking, if they are less than productive at work, then they are not going to be even less than productive at home.

Finally, I have employees who cannot work from home because they must be on-site. As an example of the latter, I have people who manage the facilities (UPS, generators, HVAC, etc.) that need to be on-site if something goes wrong.

The real question is: how productive am I being working from home while writing this? 🙂

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Programmer? No, SQL artiste; completely different skill set. March 18, 2020 at 1:12 pm

True. As an IT guy, I can distract myself with cellphones and coding challenges (that superficially look a lot like work) *anywhere*, so telecommuting just reduces my transit tolls, social anxiety, and masks my career-limiting eye-rolls during management meetings.

The best part of my telecommuting gig? I’m hired “sight unseen,” purely on demonstrable skills. I have no idea what most of my coworkers look like… Rather like the “Love Is Blind” TV series.

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James March 17, 2020 at 10:04 pm

I have a home office. It’s set up with a dual-monitor display, a printer, and a phone charger, as well as some references that I need for work. I usually only use it for work, so when I go in it’s with that mindset. I had to work from home for two weeks due to car trouble (ie, stupid thing died on me and good riddance to it), and the only differences between that and working from the office were that I had better coffee, a shorter commute, and a better sound track. With Skype business meetings are as easy as in the office–the company’s set up for remote meetings anyway.

Frankly, I don’t think most of the folks I worked with those weeks knew I was working from home.

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