When working at home isn’t the right choice h
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August 2019, by Klara Proner
Candidates
3-minute read

When working at home isn’t the right choice h

 

No rush-hour commute. No sitting through meetings that drag on interminably. No co-workers stopping by to talk about Game of Thrones when you’re racing to meet a deadline... Working at home certainly has its appeal. But in some cases, it’s not appropriate. Here are some examples.

Case 1: you’re meeting someone professionally for the first time

“When weighing a face-to-face meeting versus a telephone conference, you need to ask yourself about the purpose of the interaction,” says Hubble’s Klara Proner, Recruitment Director, Business Services.

“What are you hoping to get out of it? If you’re just looking to get some information and not build an ongoing relationship, a phone call is okay. If it’s just a friendly chat to catch up, then a coffee shop is fine.” 

 

On the other hand, if you’re dealing with a client or other business connection for the first time, she believes it’s better to meet in person, in an office setting.

This provides a neutral, professional, confidential environment for an interview or business meeting. A coffee shop or the like is less conducive to a work-related discussion. Privacy is also a concern.

“An office is a more structured environment. Subconsciously, it puts you into the right frame of mind for a serious business conversation. I would always advocate face-to-face meetings when possible. At the very least, use Skype so there’s a visual connection.”

 

In her own work at Hubble, Klara adds, “I’m a big proponent of not doing interviews outside the office unless there are crazy extenuating circumstances. In my three years on the job, that hasn’t happened once.”

Case 2: you’re less effective working at home

“Even if you’re sitting on the couch in casual clothes, you still need to have the right mindset when you’re working.”

 

Working in the office comes with its share of disruptions, but working at home presents challenges of another kind, with many tempting possibilities for procrastination. 

“If you’re someone who’s easily distracted, it’s probably not a good idea to work at home,” Klara points out.

Without the necessary self-discipline and time management skills, your productivity may suffer. It’s much easier to lose track of time in a less organized environment.

There are also practical concerns such as having a reliable Internet connection or access to materials and resources when you need them. 

In this day and age, notes Klara, you should be able to communicate effectively and perform at a high level even if telecommuting. If any questions have to be asked about your performance by your boss, clients or colleagues, that’s a red flag.

“It doesn’t matter where you’re doing it, the quality of your work has to speak for itself. If you’re working at home and that ever becomes an issue, maybe it’s not a suitable environment for you.”

 

Case 3: you need to touch base with colleagues

What if none of the above applies? You’re highly organized and disciplined. You don’t have any tasks that can’t be done in the comfort of your own home. Does that mean you never have to go to the office at all?

No, says Klara. 

“It depends on your team and role, but as a rule of thumb, I think everyone should be in the office at least once a week.”

 

A week, she remarks, is a basic unit of measurement when it comes to business. Think weekly meetings, weekly reports, weekly lunches, etc. That’s why it’s a good yardstick for checking in at the office.

As someone who telecommutes herself, she finds switching regularly between office and home to be the best arrangement.

“Working at home helps to keep me sharp. I like changing where I’m sitting. I like different spaces. It keeps me fresher and helps me segment my time,” notes Klara, who tends to do administrative tasks at home and focus on meetings, reporting and the like at Hubble.

“Personally, if I’m going to be in the office once a week, it’s always Monday. After the weekend, it helps bring you back to the reality of the business environment.”

 

Check it out: Klara also provides advice on moving up the corporate ladder  – or not!

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