Working from home isn’t what it used to be. It means something different now than it did twenty years ago, however the perception of it hasn’t change near as much as the profession itself has. Due to the thousands of “work from home” scams, it has given those of us who work from our home office a bad stigma that we have to shake off. When asked where I work at a party, I almost hate to say “from home,” as many assume that means I sell Tupperware from my garage or that I’m really between jobs.
Years ago, working from home was something of a pipedream. Scammers and TV ads spammed it, claiming you could make 10k a week sitting at home working 2 hours a day. With the majority of society realizing this was nothing short of ridiculous, a common belief came that those who worked at home were the suckers who fell for one of these scams. Working from home really meant “about to be unemployed”. But what has changed over the last decade or two?
Our tools of the trade have changed dramatically over the past 2 decades. We have grown from a home office requiring an entire desk space of equipment and thousands of dollars of investing, to mobile touch screen devices the size of a book for only a few hundred dollars. What we can do from home today simply wasn’t possible even ten years ago. With the invention of iPads and high end laptops, we now have the hardware to support our on the go lifestyles and at home needs. Another required upgrade for at-home working has been the network infrastructure of the world. Although there are still places stuck on dial up connections, most people have access to high speed DSL or Cable internet services, which allow us to stream video and audio, transfer files, and complete video or teleconference calls with one another over the net. Mobile cell networks have also significantly improved with 3G and 4G LTE speeds now becoming available all over. So with everything that has changed, why hasn’t the viewpoint on working from home? And what can we do as workers to convince them otherwise?
Convincing people that working from home is a whole different game than it used to be won’t be easy, but that change will come over time. As UC gains a larger foothold at more and more companies, more people will be able to start working from their homes and the stigma will be lifted. No longer will it just be bloggers and call centers working from their homes, but every position in every workplace will have the ability to work without the commute to their office and still be just as effective. It’s not a scam, or a short lived fad. Technology is moving forward in a direction that allows us to be mobile, and be beneficial employees, whether we are at home, a Starbucks, or in the office.