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Work Life Balance - Home Office: 10 reasons pro and contra

Office or home office? We have compiled the most important arguments.

Anyone who follows the discussion about working at home gets the impression that it is a kind of religious war. Some say no, I could never do that, I need the contact with my colleagues, others think that working from home is much more efficient and that private life can be better reconciled with the job. Which is right? Both. There are good arguments for working at home and also good reasons for going to the office.


1. less disruption through blah-blah

A reader of put it in a nutshell in his comment on an article about teleworking: "In our team, time is wasted so much that it just cracks. Especially the chatterboxes waste a lot of working time. Stories are told about shopping, the husband, the mother and many other things, and those who don't do these things but work are considered unfit for the team and are graded badly."

Indeed: Often enough, colleagues keep us from work with stories that we don't want to hear. At home, on the other hand, you can concentrate on the issues at hand and even spend three hours at a time on one thing.

2. fewer useless meetings

If important staff members are generally absent on Thursdays and Fridays, there will be no lengthy strategy meetings on those days. And perhaps the fact that many colleagues have home offices means that meetings are reduced to what is really necessary. That would be desirable. Or do you know someone who says there are too few meetings in their company?

3. less annoying commuting

The daily commute to work is one of the biggest sources of unhappiness and stress of all, as research has shown. A temporary employment agency, for example, had found in a survey that only unemployment or physical disability made people more unhappy than having to commute several kilometres to the office every day. With every minute of commuting, well-being decreases. So why not just stay at home? It's also much better for the environment.

4. Higher motivation

The need to control and mistrust are demotivating. People who sit in a home office can work in a more self-determined way, or at least they feel that way. This increases motivation, which is urgently needed: according to a Gallup survey, 24 percent of all employees in Germany have quit internally, 61 percent do duty by the book. According to Gallup, the direct supervisor is usually responsible for this dullness. And you don't see them in the home office ...

5. Better work-life balance

Many employees with long working days complain that they "don't get anything else done". In other words, shopping, doing the laundry or repairing the bicycle have to take place at the weekend, because between Monday and Friday the person concerned only goes to work, works, goes home, eats, sleeps, gets up and so on...

In the home office, you can fire up a machine or buy a loaf of bread in between. And if you prefer to play with your daughter in the afternoon, you can sit at the computer for another two hours in the evening. Just as you like it.

6. Weakened network

On the other hand, the informal office chat at the coffee machine has already provided many an information advantage that has been highly beneficial to one's career. If you're always at home, you can't pick up on the company grapevine. And, for example, they can't take countermeasures in time if something is going on that runs counter to their own interests.

7. Insufficient team building

Sure, meetings can be annoying. But many goals can only be achieved as a team. And for a good team to form, people have to meet, get to know each other personally, also to be able to assess each other. This only works between people who come to the office regularly.

8. loss of control

Marissa Mayer, who as Yahoo boss ordered everyone back to the company, suspected that one or the other overdid it a bit with self-determination. In the sense that he had founded his own company on the side and spent his time primarily on it, but in parallel was still drawing a salary from Yahoo every month.

There is nothing fundamentally wrong with bosses wanting to know at least roughly what their people do all day long. And of course this is easier to control if everyone comes to the company every day.

9. Too little discipline

Only those who can organise and motivate themselves well, who are good at time management and setting priorities, can work successfully at home in the long run. However, not everyone is able to do this. The possibility of doing the laundry or shopping in between also tempts one to get totally bogged down and lose self-control. It is important to remember that people who believe they lack the necessary discipline are usually right.

10. Self-exploitation

The last argument against working from home is the most important from the employee's point of view: countless people who work at home lose track of how much they work. Because they cannot manage a sensible separation between work and free time and remain constantly in work mode.

A recent study by the US Department of Labour found that employed teleworkers work five to seven hours more per week than their colleagues in the office. Telework, it said, was primarily used to extend working hours.

The hopes associated with telecommuting, however, have not been fulfilled. On the contrary: conflicts between job and family are fuelled because home workers are always under pressure to extend working hours at the expense of free time. (CW)


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