Home vs Office Working
08 Jan 2023
Some people prefer home work, others like to be in the office. Here's my opinions on the whole debate.
I was having a virtual chat with Chris Wiegman yesterday about home vs office working, following a post on Mastodon by him:
I can't understand people that want to sit in their cars or on public transit for 1-2 hours or more a day to be stuck in a loud room with constant distractions and the inability to get any focus work done. Even before I was officially remote I would disappear from the office for hours or whole days as it was literally the only way to get actual work done.
-- Chris Wiegman
I get that some people prefer to work in a quiet environment so that they're allowed to just get on with their work. For those kind of people, like Chris and many others, I imagine working from home suits them well.
Personally, I prefer to split my time between home and office, with that balance weighted toward being in the office more. So with that, I tend to have a 2:3 home vs office working week.
Overall, I prefer to be in the office because I prefer to be with people. The problem with that is, as Chris quite rightly said, the office can be loud (usually with my mouth being the loudest, if my colleagues are to be believed 😂), with lots going on, which in turn means I get less work done.
But I enjoy being in the office with people. I work in Bank of America's Information Security team, and I've been there for a little over 6 years now. InfoSec is a very small community, and some of the people I work with at the Bank, I've worked with previously, so have known them much longer.
Outside of work, we do stuff together too. We go out for the evening together, we meet up at weekends. In the summer we have BBQ's at each other's homes. I suppose what I'm saying is...we're friends.
So when I'm in the office, I get to spend time with my mates, which is great. I love the team at the bank, and really can't see myself leaving there, truth be told. Which really helps with me wanting to head in a few times a week. I think if the team weren't as good as they are, I'd probably look for another job, rather than just working remotely.
I still have shit to do
Spending time with friends, with my team and with my peers is very important to me. I really enjoy being with people, and collaboration is extremely important to any effective team, in my opinion.
But I still have shit to do, and that's where my home working days come in. Don't get me wrong, days in the office are still busy for me - I still have lots of meetings, but if I need to focus on something, I save those tasks for my days at home. I usually sign on earlier, work later, and as a result am more productive at home, but it's not a way in which I prefer to work.
So by splitting my time between home and the office, I get the best of both worlds. I get to spend time with friends and colleagues, I get to collaborate, but when I'm home I get to focus on stuff that needs my undivided attention. It also affords me the flexibility needed when juggling a family.
Overall, it's the perfect balance...for me.
Chris also mentions being stuck in traffic for an hour or so per day. Since moving home a few months ago, I only live around 20 minutes from the office by car, before that it was around an hour. But I still enjoyed the commute.
I've always enjoyed driving, and being in traffic has never really bothered me too much. In the winter, the car is warm; in the summer, it's cool (or I can ride one of my motorbikes). I can put some music on, or a podcast, or (more recently) an audiobook.
The commute between home and office signifies a beginning and end of my working day. It allows me to context switch between being "an adult" and being a husband, or a father. The commute allows me to decompress from the day, something which I always struggle with when working at home. The lines between work Kev and family Kev often blur when I'm at home, which isn't good for me.
It's a personal thing
I'm not saying Chris is wrong. His solution works for him and he's happy, which is fantastic. I also have friends who prefer to work at home more. More power to them; each to their own. For me, the balance of 2:3 works best.
I've had 2 weeks off for Christmas and am back working (from home) tomorrow. I'm really excited to be back in the office on Tuesday though - to catch up, to get coffee, to have a laugh. To be with friends.
What about you? Which do you prefer? Are you a WFH kind of person, or more of a social butterfly, like myself? If you wanna chat about this some more, please use the reply button below.