Home Office is NOT a Reward

The subject of home office has been the topic of several in-office discussions in the past month or so, discussions that ultimately led to nowhere.

It started off fairly evident and clear: I suggested home office so that I may be more productive. There are days in the office where all I need is quiet. Nothing more. I have all the e-mails, all facts and all data, and all that I do need is a quiet space to channel everything into my project documentation. No in-office humor, no cross-open-space discussions to overhear, just work.

Top management got the message, but not all are onboard. It seems that home office is treated as a perk, a privilege that one gets for doing a good job perhaps, or being high enough in the company structure. And the only reason I can think off why this would be the case is the assumption that people due less work during home office days. It’s the belief that home office is a mini-day-off.

Now, if your home office means that you can do work while baby sitting your kid, meaning multitask while maintaining the same level of work engagement, then I suppose the reward factor is true for you. You get to work but at the same time spend time with your kid. If it means that you can save two hours of commuting then the time-saved reward is also somewhat there. But neither of these two apply to me.

Treating home office as a reward however, has one very important component to it: it may be given or taken away.
Given for doing good, taken away for doing bad.
And the latter is exactly what happened in our case. The home office discussion never took off before it was automatically shut down because we did bad. Granted, there were tasks that my boss expected from the group that were not delivered. Tasks that could have been better managed by the collective and even by our leader himself, but the fact remains that we are now being punished.
“You won’t be able to get more done, until you get my work done.”

My take away from the ordeal is this: while times are a-changing, certain mentality does not. I’m motivated to do better work both with quality and innovation in mind, and I’m not even sure if home office would allow for me to achieve this. I do know however, that on certain days I’d rather stay home and work, and it would NOT be a reward.

PS.
Here’s what my little home office looks like. It’s a work in progress, but usually there’s something on the whiteboard and Fado always keeps me company 🙂
Speaker FYI: when I was just old enough to walk I would play the awesome game of “let’s poke the speaker membrane”. All fixed now, these beauties are as old as I am!

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