Ah, the work from home debate. It’s a long-standing debate with an extremely mixed bias as to whether it’s right or wrong to work from home.
There’s no denying the fact that there is absolutely no correct answer to this debate. There are certainly pros and cons for each and opinions will vary from person-to-person so don’t expect a solid answer from this post! However in this article, I’m going to talk about my own opinion on working from home in the hopes that it will shine some light on the topic for anyone considering making the change. I would also like to mention that your ability to work from home will vary wildly depending on which field of work you’re in. I am writing this article from a designer POV (because I am one), which is entirely different to, let’s say, a project manager who will most likely be required on-site.
As most will agree, product design is a field of work which can require an insane amount of thought and problem solving, especially when delving into the world of UX. As a designer involved with UX, you are solving a variety of problems on a daily basis. I’m not just talking about which colour to make a button, I’m talking about problems which require a huge amount of creativity, thought and concentration. Problems such as directly increasing conversions through improved usability.
I find that being at home is the best environment for me to solve these problems in since it’s quiet, comfortable and private. I don’t know about you, but I tend to wander around in circles aimlessly when I have a problem on my mind and that helps me concentrate better, I most certainly couldn’t do that in the office! Being at home puts me in my element, I don’t have to worry about tapping my foot, wandering around aimlessly or biting my pen and this enables me to concentrate harder and solve problems more efficiently.
It’s a no-brainer. Having a home office gives you unlimited freedom to customise it to perfection. I’ve taken as many steps as possible to ensure that my home-working environment is ultra comfortable for me. I have a big cushiony chair, large dual monitors, a messy paper-filled desk of sketches, a bed nearby for laying down time to rest my back and a room temperature that doesn’t have to be agreed upon by everyone else in the office. As far as I’m concerned, comfort = productivity and I challenge anyone to find me an office that’ll make me this comfortable. Exactly… silence.
In all seriousness, it’s extremely important to be comfortable whilst working, especially when your job is computer based. When you are bound to an office chair for 8 hours per day, it can cause a large amount of discomfort which will negatively impact your productivity and quality of work.
3. More time to work
Have you ever been half way through your commute to the office and thought about how much time you’re wasting actually commuting? I used to drive nearly 2 hours per day to the office and in hindsight, the amount of work you can complete in that time is invaluable and to think that it’s being wasted on a commute is hard to digest. Now that I’m working from home, I start working from the moment I wake up and not a single second of that time is wasted trying to force myself to laugh at the terrible radio jokes on Capital UK or awkwardly trying to avoid eye contact with other commuters in the London -dungeons- underground.
4. Remote communication is easy
Finally, with amazing tools such as Slack, Trello and Zeplin at our disposal, it’s become extremely easy to communicate and collaborate with teams from remote locations.
I offer clients many choices when it comes to communication. Sometimes it’s Slack, sometimes it’s Skype, sometimes it’s a daily “stand-up” phone call, heck it’s even been WhatsApp in the past! Either way, the possibilities are endless when it comes to remote communication and it has never proven to be a problem in the slightest in my experience. To keep relations good between myself and the client, I’ll often ask to meet in person as nothing beats a face-to-face and a good old handshake in building trust. However there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t be able to fully operate a design business from your house. It works perfectly well for me!
So there you have it, the 4 main reasons I work from home!