A day out of the office

jennifer Scott

COMMENT: Today is National Work from Home day. OK, you might find National Doughnut Day a bit more exciting but today has raised some interesting issues for us as a team, and me personally.

I am sure as you have been reading through the site today, and hopefully following us on Twitter, you will have noticed all the IT PRO team are trialling working from home, out and about in various Wi-Fi enabled areas seeing if it works for us.

The day started well for me. I sat down with my laptop and radio at the dining table and had a family member bring me a cup of tea. Bliss. Alas, the blissful feeling did not last long.

Another of my family members is also working from home today and is in the exact opposite role as she works in communications. She does, however, feel the need to share nearly everything she is working on with me, as well as telling me continuously how annoying us journos are for harassing her yes that is part of her job.

Some people in office environments are like this: loud talkers, grating laughers, or in need of constant reassurance with their work. I am sure I have done it from time to time. But this should be the benefit of working from home, a nice quiet environment to type in, away from the noise. Alas on this particular day I seem to have missed out.

So after spending my morning answering questions from relatives about their jobs and trying desperately to do mine, I retired to the local pub for lunch and to abuse their Wi-Fi. I was thinking that hopefully the biggest question I would be asked here is whether I want ice and a slice so could concentrate on the task at hand.

It seems to have gone well though. I must admit my particular patch of South East London has several pubs having problems with their Wi-Fi today. Once I overcame this hurdle the fourth pub I came to I must add - I bought my nachos and started to get some work done.

Mid-afternoon in a pub is actually very calming. A couple of staff milling around sorting out the place for the Friday night rush and the odd old chap propping up the bar, but plenty of opportunity to get my head down and write.

The barman enquired what I was up to and I explained to him the concept of today. It turns out he used to be a financial advisor and would have given anything to work from home.

He told me: "I used to have so much paper work and could not get it done in the office with people constantly asking me for favours or to do something else for them. If I had had my way I would have worked at least two days a week from home. Whenever I did I definitely got more work done!"

I am not sure if this can be said of my trade. The hustle and bustle of office life and running in and out for meetings is part and parcel of the job. But when it comes to concentration, without the nagging relative in my ear, I feel like it I am riding high.

Me and my contacts have all been able to stay in touch, I have had constant correspondence from my colleagues and the news on the site is coming thick and fast like any other day. Just think how much opportunity working from home could give to those unable to leave it?

On a serious note there are those people with either physical or mental health problems who via working from home could make a wage in in comfort and safety.

But even the flu symptoms or nasty cough that keep any other employee out of the office could become obsolete if everyone could connect remotely, as well as ensuring they don't pass it round to everyone else!

As the day draws to a close I am not sold on the idea entirely on a personal level. I like a busy office with phones ringing and the interaction with my colleagues. However, I think we need to have this as an option, both for those less able or to keep up productivity even when you cannot make it in.

Until then I will turn the radio up loud and pretend I don't hear the questions coming from next door... "How do I deal with this problem Jennifer?" Dammit.

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.