Anyone else not like working from home?

The few times I’ve worked from home, I’ve hated it.

I feel like a slob, sitting in front of my computer all day. I feel unmotivated in my own house. I spend all day wanting to do dumb stuff on the Internet, and often I do, meaning I end up having to work late in the night. I find it boring, lonely, uncomfortable and depressing.

I like the social interaction at work. I like how it gets me out and about. I like actually putting on decent clothes in the morning and having somewhere to go and something to do. I like eating lunch at local restaurants. I like having someone to provide instant feedback on what I’m doing. I like being able to go home and actually be home. I even like the commute.

Anyone else with me?


No ditto. I hate being in the office as much as I hate working from home.

I’m doomed.

Ever notice that people who work from home invariably send you e-mail at 1:30 am, as though to suggest they put in a full 14-hour day when they’re at home? And they CC everybody right up to the CEO. That kills me.

Yes, for all the reasons you’ve listed, and more:

[li]The “social interaction” aspect isn’t just that; nor is it just the “immediate feedback.” Sometimes I need to ask people questions about their work, that I’m interacting with or building upon – and it’s a lot easier to do it by stepping over to their place and talking face-to-face, or inviting them over to take a look at my screen so they can understand what I mean. Email and even talking on the phone just don’t cut it.[/li]
[li]Remote Desktopping into my work machine just isn’t as good as sitting in front of it – I have a better monitor at work, and also the speed at which the screen refreshes for me at home is simply much slower than it is at my workstation (and I don’t think it’s my connection speed – I have a relatively-slow-but-really-should-be-adequate-for the purpose 750 Kbps download speed at home.)[/li][/ol]

That said, I like having the option – on days like today, where I had to spend all morning at home while workers installed new doors in all the rooms. Without the option, I would have had to take half a day off; this way I may have been 75% effective, but at least I got some work done. And didn’t have to take time off for it*

So it’s not all bad, as long as it’s limited to specific cases where I just can’t get in to work. I never stay to work at home just because I can, though!

  • I’m salaried and will need to pick up the slack at some point anyway, so I’m not screwing my employer over. Believe me, they’re getting more than 40 honest work hours a week out of me, in any case…

I used to love working from home, but I’ve found that that’s changed in the past few years, mainly since my son was born. In general, I find myself more interested in protecting the sanctity of my home from my work, particularly given that I usually work more hours when I work from home than when I go to an office. When I go to an office, even if I bring a laptop with me, I have more of a clean break from work than I have if I just turn off my computer. It’s all mental, but it’s there.

Also, I need the face time. Part of it is the instant feedback - it’s much easier to just turn around and discuss regulations with someone than having to call or wait for them to read their e-mail - but sometimes I need someone to bounce creative ideas off of someone and seeing the expression on their face while I do so tells me a lot more about what they think of an idea than their words do. I’ve also noticed that people feel more comfortable telling me in person if they don’t like something versus over the phone or e-mail. Lots of people assume that a criticism or honest opinion (“No, I don’t like that”) will be hurtful. I don’t internalize criticisms generally, but people giving them do. Receiving negative information is just as important to me as getting positive information, sometimes moreso - knowing what someone doesn’t like before I go too far with it lessens my workload and cuts out a lot of BS I’d have to deal with otherwise.

I can’t stand working at home, and I don’t do it (which is fine with my employer). I’m much more productive in the office because, like the OP, I find being isolated boring and depressing. I need the buzz of activity around me in the office to stay focused on my work. As I jokingly tell my co-workers, I need them around so I have someone to ignore!

Unfortunately, I switched to a new group at work where everyone except me telecommutes a couple of days a week, and some of them don’t work on Fridays. So I’m sometimes the only one in my aisle physically present, particularly on a Friday. It drives me insane, and it definitely colors my perceptions about whether I like my job or not. I have the same problem when I’ve ended up in a cubicle off in a corner by itself, with walls separating me from the rest of the office. This has happened to me twice, and both times I initiated job searches because I started hating my job.

If I ever leave my current job for another company, part of the reason will be that feeling of isolation I experience in the office. For now I’m hanging in there, but sometimes I really hate it.

I’ve never worked from home, but I’m certain that I’d be terrible at it. When I was a student I was awful at sitting down and getting stuff down. When I’m forced to be in an environment where I am expected to work, I find it much easier to focus and get things done.

I love working from home. Largely because i hate dealing with people on a day to day basis. But also because i actually find it easier to work with the TV on. And i especially love being able to work whenever i feel like it since i have a hard time sleeping so am often awake at 3am and asleep at noon.

Technology has advanced to the point where many of the problems can be overcome. Where ten years ago there was just email and the phone, now we have real time chat, online meeting rooms, and videoconferencing. Almost anyone can afford a webcam, and then have online voice with video using Yahoo or Skype. In the same way, nearly all management concerns, I would think, can be addressed. If you’re the boss and you need something from the employee, you can hail them via IM, and they’re expected to respond, making reasonable allowances for them being away from their desk, or in meetings, or whatever–just as you would at the office. At my last job, Yahoo IM had become hugely popular as a tool for communication and collaboration, but even before this happened, it wasn’t expected that I’d have to meet with the boss every day. In most large office environments I’ve seen, it’s not as if the boss needs to be leaning on the employees every minute of the day. Instead, it often seems as if we telecommute from inside the same building.

For workers’ concerns about motivation, those can be addressed by such things as maintaining a professional work area in your home, by getting dressed instead of staying in your pyjamas or bathrobe all day, and so on.

I’ve never had a job where I could routinely telecommute, but if I did, I think my preference would be to work at home three or four days a week and go in on the other days.

It’s not just work-related social stuff. I need the “good mornings” and jokes about it being Friday and laughing at what the blow-hard a few desks over said about the debates. I like how my co-workers are often not people I’d hang out with normally- if it weren’t for work I probably wouldn’t know a ton of married people or middle aged women or busy executives. Even when we are all just working away not talking it still gratifies me to know there are other people around working, and I’m not just all locked up in my dungeon alone with some crappy spreadsheet or something.

Yeah, but that all seems kind of…silly. I know in my head it’s a good idea to get dressed and act professional, but I know in my heart I’m still hanging out at home fucking around on the computer all day. Heart wins over head every time.

It’s always seemed to me that this is the major determination of whether one likes working at home, followed by self-discipline. I’m a programmer; just about any interruption when I’m working sets me back at least 15 minutes to a half-hour (beyond the actual interruption itself). I don’t feel any need nor desire for social interaction at work; it’s simply a distraction. And what I do is in line with my non-work interests, so there’s no question of discipline – it’s what I’d most often be doing anyway. I absolutely love working from home.

My wife, on the other hand, isn’t like that. She likes a good level of social interaction at work, and is really good at filtering external distractions when necessary. Also, her self-discipline isn’t so good; unless there’s a hard deadline, there are usually other things to do that she finds more interesting.

I agree with the OP. I’ll just add that I don’t like dressing up and going to the office and all that it entails, but I far prefer it to working from home. I never get anything done at home and I’m honest enough with myself to admit and acknowledge it. The few times I’ve actually gotten anything done while “working” from home have been late at night when something HAD to be done by the next day. It’s why I never did great in school; I was full steam ahead in the classroom - paying attention, asking questions, doing classwork - but when I got home I just didn’t give a damn. I never did homework.

I second your entire post. I like having the option of working from home, but in general I like going to the office to (i work only three miles away). I like the people I work with, and it’s easier to ask a question sometimes when the conversation is face to face. Plus I HAVE to go in to work when my wife is not on the road (She’s a sales manager for a publishing company). Holy Cow working with her in the same room is impossible. Me: [keyboard] tappity tappity tap tap[/keyboard]. Wife: [on phone]BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH [/on phone]

It has its pluses and minuses. Some days I like it better than others. Some days, like you, I am under motivated. Other days, I work liked a fiend. But that is true when I go to the office too.

What I like about it is, I can take a quick nap and get refreshed. That works well for me.

I love working from home. It’s awesome! I can get all my errands done, spend time with the kids, go running when I feel like it and close the door to my office if I need some privacy. I get so much more work done because no one bothers me. I can’t stand all the chit-chatting and lunches and meetings and other time-wasting activities of being in an office. Plus, I can start work right when I wake up because I don’t have to get ready or commute. I’ve been working from home for years now so I have a good routine and am disciplined about separating work from family. I do enjoy going to an office on occasion (I’m a consultant so I have to visit my client once in a while) if not just to remind me that I don’t really like having to get dressed up, bring all my snacks with me (or else have to eat from a vending machine or go out for lunch). Also, I am much less likely to work late in an office - when it gets late, all I want to do is leave. But at home, I can still muster up some energy after dinner and after the kids have gone to bed to catch up on things. I wouldn’t trade my home office for any other work situation (except of course not working at all because I suddenly became independently wealthy!).

I don’t like working from home although I am free to do so any given day that I feel like it. That is a rare occasion. My kids are home Monday and Friday and there is no way I am going to work with them around. Other people assume that you have the day off if you are home and that pisses me off. I am a systems analyst and I work in a building with 1300 coworkers. One reason I am so effective is that I never hesitate to walk away from my desk and grab someone to pull them into a conference room to sort out a problem immediately. Some of my dumber coworkers e-mail people a 1 minute walk away for days on end copying everyone they can think of including their elementary school babysitter. I won’t do that.

I also have a docking station at work that turns my laptop into a full desktop setup with dual monitors. I don’t trust people that work on laptops with small screens. They might as well be working on an Etch-a-Sketch as far as I am concerned. I am working on a nice setup at home but until then I don’t think I can be productive at home so I generally don’t do it.

I really don’t like it for long periods of time for basically the reasons you described. Sometimes it’s nice though.

I am a freelancer and find I am much more productive when I go out to do work, whether at the library or at the café up the street. For some reason I can concentrate better, even when it’s not 100%.

Another vote for … oh, wait, wrong thread.

Count me in for loving working at home. A huuuugggggeeeeeeeee[sup]92[/sup] plus is my business partner – Mrs. Dvl. We do editorial and design work, frequently on the same project. Many people are baffled when they learn how much time we spend together, but I wouldn’t want to be stuck in an office with anyone else.

What he said. I didn’t really enjoy my cubicle days, back when I was doing that, but I don’t really like sitting on my couch with my laptop like a slob, either. I am much more productive and focused when I get out of the house and go somewhere else, usually a coffeeshop with free wifi.

I guess part of it is just that it’s hard for me to focus on work when I know that I could be doing the laundry, the dishes, etc.

I liked being able to make my own schedule, be my own boss, and work naked. And no meetings!! But I hated having to motivate myself, found it impossible not to read the straight dope all day, and hated dealing with billing and taxes and so forth. Also, I start to feel a little “out of touch”.