by Tina Darmohray
Tina Darmohray, co-editor of ;login:, is a consultant on Internet firewalls and network connections and fre-quently gives tutorials on those subjects. She was a founding member of SAGE.
A Negative in the Zero Commute
Judging from the subject lines of my SPAM-mail, the concept of "firing the boss" and "working from home" are hot topics for a lot of folks. Apparently the concept of working from home conjures up images of an ideal work environment with all sorts of side-benefits built into the scenario. I've been working exclusively from a home office for the last six years, and there are certainly some benefits to it (personally, I get a lot of laundry done in the time I would have been distracted at the water cooler), but it's not without some drawbacks.
I was talking last week to a fellow consultant who also works at home. We've been good friends for a long time, and very few topics are off-limits for us. The topic for this particular day was home offices and families and how they sometimes just don't mix. We were in the mood to vent, and we did. Later I thought that our conversation might be of interest to others who may be considering working from home, or are envious of those who do. In either case, this should help put some perspective on the realities of work-from-home scenarios.
Our observation is that a home office doesn't seem to command the respect that an office located in the corporate compound does. Our beef is that our family members sometimes don't recognize that it should. We went through the list of atrocities that happen in home offices that just don't happen "at work":
Don't get me wrong; there are many up-sides to working from a home office; I just haven't touched on those here. But our collective experience suggests there are a few innate problems with a zero commute as well.