Lion of the Blogosphere

What’s a reasonable work/slack-off balance?

Commenter writes:

does anybody here work from home?

I just started my new work from home job on Monday. The thing is, when working in an office I don’t feel guilty about slacking off because I feel like what I’m actually getting paid for is to be present in the office, not to do work.

But when working from home, every minute I’m not actually being productive I feel like I am stealing.

What is a reasonable work/slack off balance for somebody who works from home? 50-50? 75-25? I don’t think I can do more than that.

I, personally, found it very difficult to get motivated to do any work while at home. Even in the office, I would only spend about half of the non-meeting time doing productive work. Which gave me time to blog, surf the web, etc.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

July 28, 2016 at 9:55 am

Posted in Uncategorized

25 Responses

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  1. All I can think of is this:


    July 28, 2016 at 10:00 am

  2. I have worked from home for 15 years and it is easier to multitask/slack off than in the office but on the other hand it is also easier to work extra hours and weekends WFH. The same amount probably gets done but at your own pace and you are protected from the “pop in” of other people coming into your office and redirecting your workflow onto their priorities.

    Ultimately you should be thinking if you are accomplishing your work goals, not if you have more or less slack off time. If you consistently arent getting priority things done, then *that* is the problem.

    Lion of the Turambar

    July 28, 2016 at 10:46 am

  3. Struggled with this myself when I worked at home one day a week. On my laziest days I found that if you are just responsive to ims, emails and call in to meetings no one knows or cares what you’re doing.


    July 28, 2016 at 11:12 am

  4. I work from home.

    Here’s the deal — do your work! I wake up extra early to power through my tasks. Once you’ve put in a solid 4 hours of intense work, you will find plenty of free time. The remainder of your day should be responding to emails and answering your cell phone (people want to know you’re around; in that sense you have to prove that you’re reliable). Much of the time an employee spends in an office is killing time and trying to look busy. It’s extremely inefficient.

    But you owe it to yourself to use some of this time for self-actualizing activities (no TV, video games etc.). A work from home job provides a perk that is almost impossible to monetize: time. Time to do exactly what you want with the most precious hours of the day. Time to read, write, feel decent etc. A work from home job often lacks upward mobility (in many ways you take yourself off the ladder). This is certainly the case for me, so I put pressure on myself to take advantage of my freedom.

    I would turn down a job with an extra $50k if it meant showing up to a miserable office. What about $100k extra? I’d be tempted to turn that down too. The ability to walk away from the computer and do something completely different, is a level of freedom that most people never experience.

    That said, it takes a tremendous amount of mental fortitude. There is a loneliness to it that can be taxing. It’s crucial to leave the house and maintain a level of discipline. Speaking of which….


    July 28, 2016 at 11:22 am

  5. Been WFH for the past 4 years. Did it off and on before. I love it. I actually work 20-25 hours per week. Sometimes more but not often. If I double dip with a second client it can get tiresome, otherwise I feel semi-retired. In a cubicle this is all the work I would do or less. So I never feel guilty and its great using my own crapper. So just make sure you meet expectations and then living la Vida loca ….

    Lazy Hero

    July 28, 2016 at 11:53 am

  6. Interesting post. A job I had, three jobs ago, back around 2003, had about 25% of its large work force of over 10,000 working from home. The company tried to force me and about 50 coworkers to work from home. I got out of it as I’d rather have an office to go to and be more productive. All the women were glad to work from home. I remember teleconferences where you could hear the women cooking or their kids playing in the background.

    E. Rekshun

    July 28, 2016 at 12:06 pm

    • that definitely happens but so what? you have confirmation that these employees are people not robots and have lives. Which we kind of knew anyway.

      Its only a problem if it becomes an impediment to getting work done.

      Lion of the Turambar

      July 28, 2016 at 1:14 pm

  7. My office is only 1.5 miles from my home, and I regularly take a 2-hour lunch break back at home (as I am right now). So, I almost work from home.

    E. Rekshun

    July 28, 2016 at 12:13 pm

  8. I’m err working, from home right now. I’ve been work at home for 13 years and at this point, I would never want to go back to an office again. In my case, I have production goals to meet, so slacking off is something that has to be considered as long as I do what I’m supposed to do.

    Mike Street Station

    July 28, 2016 at 2:51 pm

  9. I agree wholeheartedly with the commenter. I have recently begun working from home one day a week (to avoid a long commute), and I can attest that your superego kicks in and compels you to put your nose to the grindstone more assiduously than you might if you were at the office. When your commute takes an hour or more, you tend to feel that you’re already done a certain amount of “work” and feel less guilty about not always being on the job. At home you have no such excuse.

    Plastic Paddy

    July 28, 2016 at 2:55 pm

    • When I worked on Route 128 outside of Boston, I had a 45-minute commute each way. After several months of that, I found myself eager to get out of the office a few minutes earlier every day to “beat the traffic.”

      E. Rekshun

      July 28, 2016 at 5:50 pm

    • I have recently begun working from home one day a week (to avoid a long commute)

      I don’t have a long commute, but nonetheless, a couple of years ago I decided to not go to work at all on Fridays. I take every Friday off w/o pay. So, here it is Thursday almost early evening and I’m enjoying the start of yet another three-day weekend!

      E. Rekshun

      July 28, 2016 at 5:53 pm

  10. I get paid for how much I produce. Sometimes people say, “Gee I don’t know if I could work from home because I don’t know if I’d have the discipline. I’d get distracted.” Maybe they’re right. Maybe only some people can do it.

    I get motivated by thinking how much I’m making per month, per day, how many hours I’ve done and need to do to stay on track. I fly around, throw away money on Carlsberg and Guinness. I recently increased my hours and I wouldn’t go back to just working enough to get by. It turns out I have a lot of time to spare anyway, and I don’t have to work all that much to get by in third world countries.


    July 28, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    • “. . . To get by in Third World countries.” That’s nice to know as we’ll be one soon.


      July 29, 2016 at 10:33 am

  11. It might sound funny but I found that I wasn’t as focused when I just bummed around in shorts or sweatpants and flipflops while working from home. Putting on biz casual clothes really helped.


    July 28, 2016 at 4:37 pm

    • That’s absolutely true, and I speak as someone who has worked at home long enough that my business casual now resembles Tom Hanks in Castaway.

      Mike Street Station

      July 28, 2016 at 5:33 pm

    • I probably wouldn’t get out of my boxers and wouldn’t shave for weeks!

      E. Rekshun

      July 28, 2016 at 5:55 pm

  12. I’d say that if someone does 45 minutes of work an hour that they’re doing well. It’s difficult to maintain focus for longer than that. If you try then your performance decreases. That’s why I make it a point to take a 10 minute break and switch tasks every 45 minutes or so. I also make it a point to get up and move.


    July 28, 2016 at 6:13 pm

  13. 35 years ago when I was a senior in college,, I knew a guy who ran a consultancy business helping universities with their fundraising. He traveled a lot, and also did a considerable amount of work from an office he maintained in his home. This was, of course, back in the days before “telecommuting,” but he told me that on his home office days he would put on a dress shirt, slacks, and tie, just because it put him into the proper frame of mind for “work” and opposed to “goofing off.”

    Sgt. Joe Friday

    July 28, 2016 at 7:06 pm

    • Much of the white collar world is fake make work.

      Technology still cannot replicate the subtlety of human intervention, that is needed for manual labor work. So Yakov is happy about this. This same reason why blacks are being replaced by a higher IQ demographic from Latin America, in the construction industry as cheap laborers.


      July 28, 2016 at 8:04 pm

      • Mestizos don’t have a higher IQ than blacks. They both average ~85 as do Arabs.


        July 28, 2016 at 10:28 pm

      • And you’re telling me that blacks perform just as well as Mestizos, when it comes to construction work. blacks have lower spatial IQs.


        July 29, 2016 at 10:53 am

  14. Work vs slack off isn’t what’s important; results are. It’s the only thing I track and it’s improved my work, since doing so.

    JW Bell

    July 28, 2016 at 7:56 pm

  15. Communism and telecommuting can never work – they are fundamentally at odds with human nature.


    July 29, 2016 at 1:10 pm

  16. Pick 4 hours’ worth of _important_ tasks to do. Do them. Once tasks complete or 8 hours reached, stop working.

    WFH balance achieved. Try it.

    Justin Megawarne

    August 14, 2016 at 7:14 pm

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