The advantages and disadvantages of telework

Today it's exactly 6 months since we heard our management's announcement to close the office and to send everyone home into homeworking. This was one day before we learned that Belgian schools would close the week after and a week before we went into a national lockdown.

In those 6 months I've returned 2 days to the office and 6 days to our big training center in total.  So we can say that working from home is our new normal. But it's slowly changing again... In the coming weeks if the covid situation stays stable, we'll all return a minimum of days (4 per month) back to the office to restore some social contacts and communication. Some fear the return terribly but most seem relieved and happy. 

I can confirm that I have learned many advantages of homeworking over the last months but with some delay also the disadvantages of telework. 

Pro homeworking

  1. Music while working
  2. No commuting time so more efficient working time in a day
  3. Wearing sweatpants as much as you want / Less need for a great variety of clothes
  4. Lunches with Jan
  5. Netflix during lunch (if Jan isn't there at same moment)
  6. You can phone a colleague for a private one-to-one conversation at any moment without the need to find an available meeting room
  7. Fresh soup for lunch or baking an omelette or ... 
  8. Running some quick errands during the day
  9. No stress when you need to pick up the children
  10. Always walking the children to school or camp or so (since not combining it on your way to work)
  11. No traffic jams and the linked stress
  12. No need to search a parking space after work
  13. Driving less, being more ecological
  14. You can have a little break at home and do a little chore already...not everything is crammed in that little free evening time
  15. Always home for e-commerce deliveries
  16. Always home when a technician or whomever needs to come to the house for something
  17. You can secretly multitask in boring inefficient meetings
  18. No discussions with colleagues on open/closed windows or the settings of the thermostat
  19. The right brands of drinks in the fridge
  20. No time needed in the morning to prepare your lunchbox
  21. No need to wear a face mask and use alcogel all the time

Contra homeworking
  1. Home becomes work
  2. Trap to do too much overtime
  3. No mental decompression time between work and home (by the commute)
  4. No commute through the forest, no more singing and listening to the radio in the car
  5. Information sharing in the team is less efficient
  6. As manager it is much harder to track with team how everyone is doing (and therefore you must call and have much more one-to-one meetings)
  7. People start to feel lonely
  8. I move less (not walking from parking lot , coffee machine, colleagues, are all at smaller distance)
  9. My eyes never get screen rest, not even in the many many meetings 
  10. Working in the basement (which is cold(er) most of the year) with a dreadful ugly background for all those video meetings
  11. Sharing our basement office with Jan while we are both constantly in videomeetings a result we bother each other a lot noise-wise. 
  12. No need to clean up the breakfast table entirely since you'll snack a few hours and then it's lunch time and ... and so you never are motivated to clean up
  13. Working at home when the cleaning lady is around
  14. Confidential conversations can be heard by house members (yet not by other colleagues)
  15. No big office printer around
  16. You must constantly buy new coffee beans as you (almost) run out of them at home so frequently
  17. Some days you don't get outside at all if you don't pay attention
  18. Never a need to dress up, quicker the feeling of dullness in life
  19. Colleagues see your house in video calls
  20. It's more stressful to get IT issues with your infrastructure when being offsite (but terribly busy)
  21. I tend to be more relax when the children get home/we pick them up since I was not rushing through traffic against a deadline


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