UNITED STATES—The 2020 pandemic ushered in something that hadn’t really transpired in the work arena: the ability to work from home. There are plenty of people who are successful at this, but at the same time there are plenty of people who are NOT successful when it comes to working from home. The notion of working from home is not easy because it requires people having a set discipline. When we discuss discipline it involves knowing when you work day begins, when it ends and when you are allowed to disconnect from work.

The biggest issue I see when it comes to working from home is this issue that you sometimes feel this need that you can never turn off from work. You are always working it feels like sometimes harder than what other people realize and as a result it just feels like you never have any time or a moment to yourself. There are boundaries that are just not clearly defined and as a result it creates friction with management.

If I am scheduled to work from this time to this time, do not wait until 5 minutes before my shift is over to ask me to stay over. The fact that people do that and then get an attitude if someone decides they don’t want to stay over is annoying. No one is required by law to stay over beyond their scheduled time, unless they have a contract that states otherwise. People are free to either work if they choose or not work. Management cannot stump their feet or scream to the Gods about someone not being a team player if they don’t stay over.

Hello, that person might have other obligations they have to attend to and if the company is already aware of that, how in the hell can you get mad? That’s the key people you cannot. If someone gives you a schedule telling you their availability and you choose NOT to schedule them and then you need a shift covered and the person tells you they cannot cover the shift, it is the company’s loss.

You choose not to schedule the person, so they made arrangements to perhaps handle other matters or schedule work at their other job. That is just one of the big issues with working from home: scheduling, another one is discipline. People seem to think that when you work from home that means you can do whatever, whenever and that is not the case. You have a strict discipline that you need to follow and it at times does not always work to your benefit. You tend to have distractions all the time for reasons that can be frustrating. Packages being delivered, people randomly stopping by, people calling and asking you to do favors, the list goes on and on.

What do I tell people? Hey, I work from home, and when I’m working, I’m WORKING, I am not sitting around watching TV and not doing what is expected of me. I am working and doing it tirelessly people. If you KNOW I have a predetermined shift and I informed you of that, be aware during that time frame I am NOT to be disturbed. Let me focus and get my work done during that time frame people. Not many people are disciplined at this and it leads to problems down the line. However, the biggest problem with working from home is that ongoing notion that even when you’re off you feel like you’re still working. This is why I prefer to work in-person in the office. You know when you punch the clock and you punch out, the day is officially over. You don’t have to worry about this or that; you’ve completed the workday.

However, when you work at home even though your shift might be over, you’re going to have people who for reasons I cannot fathom, think you’re still scheduled to work. They’re texting you, they’re calling you, they’re emailing you, people seem to think no matter what that if they reach out you’re supposed to respond and that boundary is not respected. When a person’s shift ends, it’s just that, the shift is over. Anything that needs to be done has to be handled by someone else or the person who is to handle it will have to do so during their next shift.

Stop expecting one to work nonstop, no one wants to do that and it becomes an issue for the worker who feels this tight grip on their throat that they have to work even though they are not scheduled to work. There has to be that balance of leaving the employee or staffer alone doing his or her off time. If it’s an emergency that is one thing, but to assume a person is to be on call 24/7 that is a problem and that is not something I will cosign. Just because someone works from home doesn’t mean he or she is supposed to be available at the company’s fingertips whenever they want you to be.

There has to be a cutoff people and that is the issue that tends to spillover for many people who work from home. They feel they work more from home than in the office. It explains why so many people love that notion of being in the office: you know when the day starts and you know when it ends. When it is over it is over, but when you work from home it can be never ending.

Written By Jason Jones