I have been a home office worker for over 15 years and I’m very happy with that arrangement. So with the social lockdown and everyone being forced into the home office, I surely have no adjustments to make, or? Not exactly.
Is home office a bliss? In normal times I would answer that easily with a “yes”. What I like is the flexibility to combine work with private matters, the avoidance of a commute and the comfort of a private office. For example, I love listening to music when working, something not easily done in an office unless you want to isolate yourself with headphones. Or having the flexibility to receive parcel deliveries (very important if you collect watches) or taking care of private business during normal working hours like picking up the kids from school. All that can be compensated and accommodated in the home office.
However, my home office days were never 5 days a week, 4 weeks a month. I always combined it with travels. 2-3 days per week travelling to meet customers and staff and the rest of the week work from home office. A combination that works very well for me. I strongly believe in order to be effective in a home office, you need to have a good personal relationship with the people you work with, which can only be established with previous face-to-face meetings.
And there is another factor. Never before, the whole family was at home all day all week. This is quickly becoming a challenge and that’s where the perils lie. Furthermore, working styles and schedules have also changed in this lockdown period. Conference calls seem to mushroom and gaining understanding at home when everyone is basically bored that you spend your entire day on the phone is not easy. Some days, I find almost no time to have a small break, maybe go out and get some fresh air over lunch. For some reason that is never the case when I work fron an office or if I travel.
So what has the upper hand, bliss or peril? I think in normal times when home office is a mix of flexibly working from home combined with travels, it is a real bliss. Under the current circumstances with a full social lockdown and the whole family at home the perils are stronger than the benefits. It’s starting to become a pain to be honest.