Thursday, 26 November 2009

Temporarily offline - working from home

I went up to London to a training session on Monday of last week. It was a really good session (better than I had hoped for) and I thought it well worth while. Unfortunately on the Tuesday afternoon, I started to feel a little unwell - shivering, shaking and sweating. By the end of the session, I was feeling really bad, and the trip home was a real struggle. I eventually got home very late (almost midnight) and I literally collapsed into bed.

It was a rough night - hot & cold sweats. The next day I felt more ill than I have done in a very long time. I had thought about grabbing my laptop to do some work, but I couldn't get up the strength to go downstairs to get the bag. It wasn't until the Thursday that I actually felt well enough to do more than stagger a few steps. When I did get back online, I quickly cleared a small backlog of emails, dealt with some enquiries over access permissions, and processed some internal items.

For most people in IT, this is actually quite a straight forward situation - there really is nothing particularly unusual about it. Within our company, most senior managers, departments heads and the sales people are more than capable of working from home for several days, perhaps even a week or two. We have also started putting together some processes to allow some of the other staff the option to be able to work from home - driven partly by a need to ensure business continuity, but also to allow a more flexible working pattern.

However, when you look at a lot of companies they just don't have the faciltiies for this. There is still a real antipathy towards the idea of remote working, and it is seen as less than desirable. Yet there are so many benefits - reduced travel costs / environmental impact, better work / life balance, the opportunity for staff to cover a longer working day, more productivity and the option for some people to hold a job when otherwise it might not be possible due to family committments or health issues.

Will this situation change? I think it will as many of these companies will start to find that they have to adapt to these new patterns of working. But I suspect that it may still take many years before everyone gets the option. A real shame - but I suppose that is just a reality of life.

In the meantime, I'm now back to work and it's almost as if I hadn't been off.

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