Why You Are Not Allowed to Work from Home
Most studies into the workforce, dating as early as the 1980s, predicted that white-collar employees would be working from home by now. The prediction has not come true. Why is that? Well, there are tons of reasons why work from home programs are challenged by employees all over the board. In fact, according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, only about 24% of employed people worked from home in 2015. These statistics are somewhat startling. Technology has come along way to facilitate faster remote work. The technology even reduces the cost of remote work and increases its efficiency.
So why are employees, including giants such as Yahoo!, pulled their remote workers back to the office?
Here are the real reasons why you are not allowed to work from home.
#1. Lack of Control
This is another way of saying that managers don’t trust employees. The biggest reason why you’re not permitted to work at home in your pajamas is exactly what you think. The powers that be don’t believe you will get the work done. They want you to be in the office where they can keep tabs on you and make sure you meet your work goals.
The fair level of fear in managers, when it comes with their employees working from home, revolves around their comfort zone. The ideal manager has to trust teammates. If the leader, due to varying reasons, doesn’t trust employees to get things done, the fear manifests itself in company policies. The fearful manager will have employees reporting at the office every weekday at 8 and make sure they check out at 5. This regime, the fearful manager believes, helps improve employee productivity.
To the contrary, work-at-home employees do not spend their days in fuzzy slippers watching “Keeping up with the Kardashians Reruns”. Studies show that an overwhelming 60% of managers reported an increase in productivity when employees worked from home. The increase in productivity is easy to explain. You see, when you work from home, you’re able to work for long hours compared to employees cooped up in an office all day long. You have nowhere to go so you tend to concentrate on your work for long bursts. Office employees don’t have the same advantage. They are more likely to respond to e-mails and check their social media accounts during their off-hours. The work-at-home employee is always at work since his home is always the office.
So why don’t managers trust their employees to work from home, even if they’ll get more work out of them? Well, it all comes down to the fact that leaders don’t trust themselves enough to hire employees they can trust. They then have to resort to some power and control mechanisms that allow them to keep a supervisory eye on employees. For that sole reason, you’re forced to drive or take a car to work every day and keep your manager’s fear at bay.
#2. Added Expenses with no Benefits
Another reason why you might not want to work from home in the first place is the money. If you want to start a home business, it’s tempting to think that you’ll not need all that money to get the ball rolling. If that’s your thinking, you’re in for a rude shock.
You see, starting a home business comes with a considerable financial bulk. Employers are already feeling the expense of having employees. They have to pay for their health insurance among other benefits. So if you’re mulling on whether “should I work from home?”, you might want to factor in the cost of private health insurance, dental policies, a pension plan, and other expenses. What’s even more troubling is the fact that most private health care policies don’t offer maternity coverage. So if you’re a mom committed to making the work-at-home thing work, you’ll pay cash if you plan on having babies. These and other expenses add up to the cost of starting a home business. A few months down the line, you may start regretting the decision of working at home and even venture out looking for an employment contract. THere’s a bright side though. You can claim private insurance premiums as a deductible in your business taxes.
What can you do to make the added expenses and lack of benefits a little bit easier to deal with when you want to work from home? Well, for starters, you’ll need enough capital for your home business. Your estimated budget for starting the business will always be more when you get boots on the ground. Therefore, when you’re sourcing loans from friends or other lenders to get your home business going, make sure you get more than enough to cover your estimated budget. This gives you some wiggle room and assurance before the business picks up and starts paying for itself.
#3. You’ll Never Escape the Office
Most of the time, people looking for ways to start working at home are looking to escape the 9-5 workday. What they don’t realize is, working from home is a whole 24 hours in the office, and here’s why. Working at your employee’s offices gets you into an organized environment where time is predetermined and predictable. True, you might be cooped up in a little box for seven hours every week, but at least you know when a working day starts and ends. When you work from home, you no longer have access to predetermined work hours. You get into a world where time management is a whole lot messier. Work can come at any hour when you have a home office. At 11 P.M you might be seated at your home desk dealing with work issues and stay there until the wee hours of the morning.
No one pays for this extra time and the next day you’re expected to start another working day. The frantic pace of working from home eats away at your family time and personal time. You quickly find out that you no longer have the time to do things you love and enjoy because you’re ever in the office. Working from home blurs the line between working hours and resting hours. With that, your work-life balance goes out of the window, and you’ll struggle to stay sane.
Being employed at someone’s offices makes you responsible for one or a few areas. That makes it easy to fulfill your duties and have a separate life outside of work. Working from home means you’re responsible for everything. You’re the accountant, manager, marketer, and CEO of your business. Playing all these roles every single day will be tiring. Juggling all those responsibilities will wear you down, and deny you any time for yourself. Think about the added responsibilities and honestly evaluate if you can handle them before jumping on the work at home bandwagon.
#4. Everything Will Try and Distract You
Do you remember back in elementary school when the teacher threatened to cancel recess if the class wouldn’t keep quiet? The threat was sufficient to bring order in the class, but there was always that one kid who would ruin it for everyone by making a racket. That’s what happens to some people who work from home. While most folks will get all their work done at home and maintain strict discipline, there are some who will struggle. Without supervision and structure, these people hardly get anything done. Their lack of productivity scares employees from denying workers the privilege of working from home. It would be ideal to weed out those who require constant supervision and deny them the privilege while letting the others have more freedom over their work, but the world sadly doesn’t work like that. It would be too much of a hassle for an employer to identify individuals less suited to work from home. It would also lead to the employer incurring more expenses. So they prefer to have everyone working at the office.
Even for the most disciplined worker, temptations are everywhere when working from home. It is easy to get caught up in the new-found freedom and keep postponing things with the false belief that you have enough time to get things done later on. The fact is, if you decide to spend your mornings with your family, no one will wake you up at 4 A.M to get some work done before the family wakes up at 7 A.M. There are also those pesky TV shows, movies, hobbies, and fun things you’ve never had time to get to. Working from home may present you with the opportunity to get to most of these leisure activities, but that can be at a great disadvantage. You may end up losing days of valuable work and at the same time losing a client. When you decide to work from home, make sure your time management skills and self-discipline are sufficiently strong to cope with the many temptations. One way to do that is installing time management software in your phone and laptop that will ensure you get things done within the right time. You may also want to have a secluded office away from the living room to avoid the temptation of sitting on the couch and catching a few episodes of your favorite TV show.
#5. Lack of Interaction with Teammates
When you only talk to teammates or clients via chat and see them on video call once a week, it is hard to develop a compact relationship. Tight-knit camaraderies are essential for making a great team and that’s where office work beats work at home arrangements. There is no face-to-face interaction when you’re working from home. Weekly video chats are not a substitute, especially when you’re engaged in a collaborative situation. You’ll need to know what your colleagues are like and that means learning a bit about their emotional responses to particular situations. You only get that from constant interaction with them which is only available in an office setup. Remote workers, as a consequence, never really become part of the team. They are an extended virtual arm of the workforce that sometimes malfunctions because they never really learn the culture of the workforce.
Most employers are hesitant to hire remote workers because they are never really sure that they will embrace the culture of the company. Not being around the office for an extended period of time means that the employee doesn’t learn what makes the company tick. They don’t learn the values of the organization, and therefore, they are never able to truly embrace its work ethics. This can be a daunting challenge in organizations that founded on intangible values. Imagine working for a tech company and you haven’t the slightest idea what is the company really stands for. While it is possible to complete your assigned duties remotely, you’re never really part of the company. It is just another faceless corporation that sends a check at the end of every month.
For employees, the lack of interaction also has negative consequences. Working from home means you never get to interact with others outside your family and friends. You miss out on the opportunity of learning about other cultures making you less tolerant to ideas outside your sphere of interaction. This can be crippling, especially in a world that is increasingly getting smaller. This is quite evident in the life of an contractor. They have no inkling of their client’s culture which means they may never be able to fully address a given assignment to the customer’s satisfaction. You need to learn how to work with others and that entails learning about different cultures. Working from home denies you this privilege.
In summation, working from home is not for everyone. There are people who have the required makeup to make it work, but there’s a large number of us who simply can’t do without supervision. For that exact reasons, employers have found it increasingly difficult to have their employees work remotely. In fact, most employers are recalling remote employees back to the office. While part of the problem is fear on the employees’ part, a large part of the problem is that the workforce has not matured enough to make working from home doable. There are tons of technological innovations that make working from home cheaper, effective, and more effective. While the workforce is unable to take advantage of these innovations, working from home is still a pipe dream for most industries.
Alyssa Johnson is an assignment writer free companion who understands the pains of working from home. She has been a freelancer ever since completing college and for the past four years, she has faced every challenge in that capacity. She writes about the challenges of working at home to help others avoid these pitfalls and prepare for life outside the office.
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