Homing at Work—To Do or Not to Do?

Over the past several years the trend of working from home has grown in popularity. According to the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor statistics, on the days that they worked, 24 percent of employed persons did some or all of their work at home. In today’s business environment, where employees are now connected 24/7 via the Internet, Blackberries, Cloud Computing and the like, a new trend (or challenge for some) – known as homing at work – is taking shape. Personal activities traditionally conducted between 9 to 5 office hours (making phone calls, scheduling appointments, etc.), are now being conducted from home during work hours. The debate between many is: Do people working from home spend more time on personal tasks? A recent Self.com poll reveals that 63% of women admit to tending to personal matters on the job – this also included an equal number of men. They take time out of work to:

  • • Use their professional email id for personal communication
  • • Use their office internet connection for payment of bills and on line shopping
  • • Use the office telephone for making personal calls
  • • Eat breakfast at their office desk

Companies can more easily track personal time when employees are in the office, but it’s difficult to categorize time spent on personal tasks when employees are working from home. So the question remains – is homing at work acceptable, and if so to what extent? Many employers will agree that allowing their employees the liberty – within reason – to tend to some of their personal lives in the office can, in fact, impact their productivity. So while we don’t have a definitive answer, I think we can all agree that ultimately the responsibility falls on each individual employee to manage their time so that they can fulfill their obligations to their employers, homing at work or not.

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