Homeworking is in the news.
Recent data from the Office for National Statistics shows a jump in the numbers of homeworkers over the last ten years. This isn’t all that surprising if we consider how much technology has moved on during the same time frame.
The BBC covered the story here. It references concerns from Mind about the loneliness and isolation that can result from home or remote working. The article does the typical thing of finding some people who think working from home is awesome, and some who find it a challenge for a range of reasons.
Here’s the thing.
Wellbeing is individual, personal, contextual, changeable. We are indeed socially driven, and research from the New Economics Foundation has found that connecting with others is a driver of wellbeing. But we are all different. For every one of us that thrives in being around others and engaging, there will be someone else that craves quiet and time to themselves. One size only fits one.
For me, my regular working from home is a benefit to my wellbeing. My long and stressful commute is challenging, so a day without it is a boost. My office days are usually frantic and coffee fuelled, food grabbed on the go. Working from home gives me time to focus and breathe. Proximity to the biscuit tin aside, I usually also eat better, and fit in some exercise too.
But that’s me. This is an anecdote, not evidence from which we should draw any wider conclusions.
Instead of trying to decide whether homeworking is good or bad or something in between, instead we need to enable people to work in the way that works best for them; their productivity, their wellbeing, their efficiency and their personal commitments. For some that will be in an office, for others it’s their sofa.
Let’s just focus on adult to adult.
What and how the work is done, not where and when.