You are working AT home not working from home and that makes all the difference!

This is an excellent point and good to see you write about it!

There’s a world of difference between “working _from_ home” and working _at_ home. Working “from” home implies and signifies that your life revolves around work, and home is an incidental nuisance in the process. Managers who want you to believe that you are a mere cog in their machines will advise you to wear work clothes while you work, take you for granted, send you unsolicited messages as if you are in your office, torment you in the name of “support”. There is a case to resist this unintuitive intrusion into your private space. If this continues, you will stress out, over “zoomed”, and hate every now and then call to meet over zoom. You will end up with no private time for yourself.

On the other hand, if the workplace recognises that this is an extraordinary situation and you are at your home because the society expects you to so that a larger catastrophe can be avoided or a major public health disaster can be avoided, then the viewpoint changes from one of “work from home” to “work at home”. Here the focus shifts to you in your “safe place” at home. Your work becomes integrated with that safety message. People recognise that you have a right to your own time and downtime, and you are now in your private space as you should be. Work becomes more focused, and more productive. There is a world of difference between the two.

Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Environmental Health at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. Also in:

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