Everyone is struggling with working from home as we collectively face a global pandemic. Meme’s in the millions about it are on every platform. I would argue though that working FROM home is not what we should be trying to do now.
We need to be working AT home. From now on.
What is the difference? I’ll admit it is a subtle one and semantic but it does represent a change in your point of view. When I am working from home it suggests that the “business” is somewhere other than where I am right now. When I think of myself as working AT home, the business is right here. In front of me. There is no separation. There is no disconnection.
Shouldn’t this be the objective no matter where we are working?
I am connected, engaged, informed and productive. My GPS coordinates are irrelevant.
Working from home implies, at least to most, a temporary arrangement. An accommodation but not a steady state. It was for me when I started doing in 2008 when gasoline prices rose, business declined and my commute became financially untenable. I never went back.
Many of you sitting in your house or apartment on a zoom meeting trying to ignore screaming kids and dogs barking in the other room (or under your feet) will not go back either. Once these challenges are met a new normal presents itself and you will not want to go back. Not all of you anyway.
Companies need to recognize this difference. Change how they think about the tools their businesses use. Do those tools simply allow work FROM home or are they potentially things that will make possible true work AT home when it makes sense. Many don’t even support the former much less the latter. Times like these bring those anchors into stark relief. Similarly the ones that can change WHERE work happens rise to the top.