Category: Work

The Difference Between Working WITH and FOR People

One thing recruitment people and employers seem to be struggling to come to terms with, given the recent correspondence I’ve had, is the idea of working with a client, rather than for a client. At first it sounds like over-sensitivity to language again, but there is actually a difference. Here’s my definition of the two…
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Why Not Allow Working From Home?

It’s a question I’ve challenged people to answer for quite a while, and it’s finally been addressed: not by a newspaper or a job site, mind you, but by the BBC. The freakin’ BBC. Well, I suppose they’d have the clout to actually do the research and get an actual response.

In arguing for the opportunity to work from home, I’ve always recognised that it’s not possible for every industry and every role. But certainly as a web developer, I would absolutely love to be able to forgo the commute to some out-of-the-way office (being reliant on public transport) and be able to have a life. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s missing those vital bits of post, or shop closing times.

I hear the argument about the luxury of having other people around, whether it’s to do with having company, teamwork or background noise. (And in the case of many other people in work, they have to have someone to dump work on or pass the buck to.) Even when I’m at home by myself, I have to have some kind of background noise to stay focused – but at least at home, I’m not subjected to someone’s big mouth, or their shitty taste in music.

A very flimsy argument in my book is the requirement to be in the office because of various procedures or technology. For example: many places I’ve worked in have localised version control systems, or localised in-house CMSs (i.e. can only be accessed from the office).
However, many of my past roles have involved work I could easily have done from home – and not even because of my efficiency.

I can only speak as a person with seven years’ experience in my field, but I put it to you: the only reason companies insist on having people in the office (without being open to the idea of working from home) is to justify the existence of certain people and roles.
If we assume that people are more productive at home – it is possible to watch Jeremy Kyle, if you’re so inclined, and work at the same time – there’s bound to be a number of people who’ll be exposed as not actually doing anything, besides walking around and chatting perhaps.

There’s also the issue of commuting. It takes about an hour to get anywhere in London via public transport, and that’s not taking into account the zombified army of commuters getting in one’s way every morning. Tube lines have been known to close or be suspended mid-journey, and the odd traffic jam could occur. Those two hours could easily be spent waking up instead!

That’s my rant for the day, I guess. Working from home obviously isn’t for everybody, let alone every role or company – but wasn’t it one of the big things that the Internet was meant to introduce?