There's been a lot of talk about digitalisation and how it will change the work life as we know it: robots will take over an even bigger portion of people's tasks in factories and manufacturing plants in all industries. That doesn't mean, though, that there would be less work for people. It just means that the nature of work changes, manual labour decreases and is replaced by surveillance tasks, administrative work moves online, etc. One change that is very much a reflection of the 21st century work culture and has been very well implemented in most companies where it has been possible is home office, working from home. I was introduced to this way of working in Slovakia working for one of the biggest IT companies in the world. And now I wouldn't accept a job if it didn't have the home office option included in the terms.
Especially in administrative jobs and executive positions where the only tool you need is a laptop and a phone home office is a very popular phenomenon. In small companies, like the one where I currently work, it doesn't make much of a difference if you are at the office writing the e-mails or at home. In the beginning I though home office would not be a suitable way to work for me because surely at home I would come up with all sorts of other tasks that suddenly need doing, like the dishes or laundry or any task I have been avoiding for weeks. But the fact is that those e-mails need to be written and the new employees need to be trained and reports must be made and I am the sort of person that if something needs doing now rather than later I will get it done. And after that, if I still feel like it, I can do the dishes and the laundry.
Of course home office doesn't suit all, but who decided that office surroundings would suit everyone!? Some get just as much or more done in a place of their own choosing, whether it's home, a café or a library, while others need the surveillance provided by the peer pressure and the environment of an office. For example we have one employee who lives and works from Spain usually by a pool. Despite this he gets three times more work done than our other employees. For me office is the best choice during busy times in case I need help with something or just to be able to chat with someone. On quiet days I prefer home office because while answering e-mails and checking that everybody is doing what they are supposed to I can do useful things at home while at the office I would just be wasting away the time. Useless.
There are risks in working in a home office, just as there are in an office; things you wouldn't even think about until they happen to you, like slipping or tripping and falling down with the result of an injury, malfunctions with the equipment, etc. Whose responsibility is it to compensate for an injury that happened during working hours at home? Also in an office the work stations are usually ergonomically designed whereas at home by your kitchen table you can get your shoulders and neck stuck within no time. That's why I prefer office most of the time, but sometimes when you just feel like sleeping that half an hour more or when the office neighbour decides to drill through the internet cable that belongs to your office resulting in no internet access for three days the home office option is such a big benefit to have.