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Working from Home - Privilege or Necessity?

If you’ve spoken to me at any point in the past 7 months, there’s a good chance you've heard me mention the fact that I love my job. If not, then here it is - I LOVE MY JOB! It’s a great company, I’m doing cool work, I work with two awesome, talented devs, and I’m able to challenge myself and learn new things on a daily basis.

As of a couple of weeks ago, my boss declared that we were enstating a new policy - WFHF (Work From Home Friday). To him, it was a no-brainer - a simple, easily-enstated perk that doesn’t cost the company anything and in no way hinders productivity. In fact, it can actually increase productivity - but more on that in a bit.

There’s no doubt about it, being able to work from home every so often is certainly a privilege - one that I’m extremely thankful for. But I also think that it can be an absolute necessity, which more companies should embrace as a means to secure their foothold in their respective industries.

Let me also state right up front, I completely understand that working from home is not an option for everybody for two reasons. One, the nature of the work for many industries simply requires a physical presence - manufacturing, construction, medical, etc. But as more and more companies become increasingly digital and the whole world becomes increasingly mobile-centric, it opens up the realm of possibility for more companies to embrace this new ideology. And two, some people honestly aren’t cut out for it. Very unfortunately, some people simply aren't self-motivated enough in their work to where they can be trusted to get work done outside of the office. And then there’s also some people who, even though they actually are self-motivated and have tremendous work ethic, just aren’t wired to work well from home. Maybe it’s that they’re easily distracted, maybe it’s that they just get into “the zone” when they’re at the office - long story short, it’s not for everybody.

Yesterday was my second WFHF since we enstated the policy. While I do very much enjoy working from the comfort of my own home, I’ve decided to enstate my own policy as part of WFHF. Each Friday, for at least some portion of the day, I will be getting out of the house and going somewhere - anywhere. I’m fortunate enough to be unencumbered by the need for a Wi-Fi connection, as my dad has offered to let me borrow his USB Mi-Fi dongle indefinitely, so I will be seeking out spots that aren’t on the list of usual suspects - coffee shops, libraries, co-working spaces, etc. I love being outdoors, enjoying the fresh air and sunshine, so this will probably be a common theme among the places that I choose as my temporary office. Ultimately, the idea is to find places that are just different - outside the norm of what I typically see on a daily basis. Those places that make your neurons fire in a different way because you’re taking in something new, purposefully breaking free from the comfortable and the predictable.

My office of choice yesterday afternoon was camped out in the back of my Pontiac Vibe (which just happens to be the most functional vehicle ever created) on the side of Paris Mountain. Sitting in the back of my car, with no distractions, sun shining, the only sound being the blowing of wind through the trees, looking out at the mountains and watching them change from orange to brown to blue to purple as the sun goes down, I’m inspired in a way that is completely unattainable in an office. And because of that fact, it becomes a substantial value-add to our company - one that’s unmeasurable (and perhaps even immeasurable), of course, but most certainly there. I’m able to come up with better (or at least different) ideas and design, write cleaner, more imaginative code, and ultimately ship a better product.

More importantly, as a substantial value-add to both our company and myself, I’m better-equipped to protect my sanity and my job satisfaction. Keeping your employees healthy and happy is how you guarantee the retention of talented people. And talented people are how you build a company and stay competitive.

So, is working from home a privilege or a necessity? Yes.


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