Monday, September 24, 2012

Shedworking: for and against

There's been a glut of surveys and media chitchat about the joys and perils of homeworking and shedworking over the last few days.

Research into the Chinese experience of homeworking has been particularly seized upon, including by Slate who ask 'Is telecommuting a good idea?' Despite using a rather bizarre term for it, their overall conclusion is 'Perhaps we’re not witnessing the end of 9-to-5. But the age of flex-time may indeed be at hand'. It's worth a look, including links to other bits of research and the original Chinese research paper by the folk at Stanford.

Then the BBC piled in with the similar 'Is teleworking driving us crazy?' (but come on chaps, keep up, nobody's called it 'teleworking' for years). They seem to be overall in favour of it but do point out some challenges. "As the boundaries between work and family life become increasingly blurred in the "always-on" era of digital communications," they say, "what psychological pressure does this put on us and our relationships with partners and families?" Again, worth a browse. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
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  1. I think employees are always on cal and it doesn't matter if they are based in an office or at home.
    Personal discipline is the thing and if you can't regulate your time than perhaps homeworking isn't for you?
    I think it might be easier for the self-employed to regulate their own time because the formula of "do the work = get paid" is clearer when you work for yourself.
    We have built offices for a number of people who work for large organisations but are based at home. They had all found that the dining room table didn't give them enough protection from the rest of the family,so they bought a dedicated garden office.

  2. The issue of 'always-on' technology and dealing with our compulsive and obsessive relation to it and that of homeworking are two separate issues and the two are being confused in the BBC article.

    Those of us who work effectively from home have learned to distinguish and separate the two roles. The introduction of always-on technology has to be incorporated into this same discipline.

    Being able to be contacted all the time does not mean you are home-working but possibly you are just bringing work home.

  3. there has to be a better term. Or we have to realize that where we work is no longer relevant. What matters now is what I heard last week at a seminar: ROWE, or results oriented work environment. It doesn't matter where you work, whether a shed or a coffee shop or a bench in a museum, it is what you produce that matters. Once management figures this out then the problem goes away.