The Work-From-Home Gripe

Where do you fall?

Kendra Perley
Oct 16, 2019 · 5 min read
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Photo by Anete Lūsiņa on Unsplash

Listen, it’s 2019, and we are well into the digital age of technology. The vast majority of us work with computers in some aspect of our jobs on a daily basis. The benefits of this advancement mean we can work virtually anywhere that has a network connection.

And when you’re an introvert like me who is significantly more productive without the constant distraction of my office mates, why wouldn’t you advocate for this opportunity?

Well, as it turns out, some people have big feelings about working from home, or more specifically, who gets to work from home.

The dilemma facing employers on whether or not to allow employees to work from home is that it sets up a possible favoritism situation. Because, essentially, if you allow it for one person, you have to allow it for everyone.

But do you really?

To me, if an employer does not support working from home in even the most necessary cases (i.e. you’re sick, home repairs, sick children, etc.) it’s a red flag that they aren’t trusting of their employees. And why hire someone you don’t trust? And why work for someone who doesn’t trust you to do your job?

I get it from an employee standpoint. If you see someone who you perceive getting preferential treatment of working from home what seems like every day, but you get the third degree when you need to stay home to nurse a cold twice a year, it’s going to rub you the wrong way.

That’s the way the favoritism cookie crumbles; when you’re on the receiving end of it, it’s delicious. When you’re sweeping up the crumbs, it’s bitter.

In fact, the work-from-home gripe is the biggest complaint I hear from numerous co-workers. “So and So is working from home again. I never get to work from home.” What is it about this benefit that gets people so riled up?

I worked from home for three years. Every couple of weeks I would make the 50 mile drive down to the office just to show my face. It wasn’t necessary. I wasn’t client facing or running any meetings. It was just to remind people that Hey, I still work here and I’m on board with this company.

The reality is that, for some jobs, it just isn’t sensible to work from home. If you’re a leader, having a physical presence for your team is important. If you’re part of a team that works with a variety of people and departments every day, it might be easier to complete your tasks in the office.

Therefore, people need to ask themselves if their role is conducive to working from home. If you sit in the office at your computer every day and rarely interact with people, you can probably get by with working remotely.

First off, all you extroverts out there who need social interaction, I would think your soul would shrivel up and die from being confined to your home. Some people thrive and are actually more productive from being around and interacting with others in the workplace. I am not one of those people.

Second, I believe not everyone has the focus needed to actually work from home. When I was working from home, the biggest question I fielded was, “Do you actually get work done? I’d be too tempted to just watch TV or do laundry.” These are the people who cannot work from home.

I had a designated office with a desk that was my home office space. If I wasn’t in there between the hours of 8:00 am and 5:00 pm, I was in the bathroom, eating lunch in the kitchen, or yes, running the occasional basket of laundry downstairs. Did I waste as much time on non-work related activities as my counterparts in the office? No. No, I did not.

Think about it. Just because someone is in the office, are they spending 8+ hours actually working. Studies say no. People online shop, scroll social media, watch YouTube videos, talk to their co-workers about mind-numbing topics. So much time is wasted in the office.

But here’s the kicker: people seem not to care because it is happening at the office. Try to do something personal at home “when you should be working” and oh boy, TIME THIEF!.

Here’s what lies at the heart of the issue: no one wants to be at work. No one. You could love your job, but most of us want to be home or anywhere else. We’ve drawn such a hard line between our work life and our home life for so long that when some people get the opportunity to blend the two, it upsets people. Because we are all searching for a work-life balance and if we see some people getting it, then we want it too. And if we can’t have it, then we don’t want anyone else to have it. We are a selfish bunch.

The reason I quit my last job in which I was working from home 99% of the time is because I got kind of lonely. My workload decreased and I didn’t feel stimulated with my work or productive. I knew it was time to head back to an office.

Working from home isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. Yes, I worked in my pajamas. Yes, I ran to the gym and the grocery store on my lunch break. Yes, I was much better caught up on laundry. Yes, I was much more productive than days in the office.

But there were days in which the only other adult I spoke with was my husband. I missed out on events and impromptu meetings.

But it worked for me at the time.

I would never work for a company that would not allow WFH opportunities at least in some capacity. I’m a strong individual achiever, and I need my employer to trust me to do my job. Employers need to know their employees and what they’re capable of. If you can’t trust someone to be productive at home, do you really want to babysit them in the office?

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