IT Employment

Poll: Do you take work home?

Some employees take work home so they can fit in quality family time, while others prefer to keep their work at the office. Do you take work home?

This is a guest post from TechRepublic Programming and Development blogger Justin James.

Some developers I know never take work home. This is not an issue for me anymore because, for about the last two years, I have been blessed (or cursed) to work 100% from home. However, when I worked in an office, I preferred to take work home rather than be at the office late. I would rather stay up working than miss dinner with my family and my son's bedtime routine.

Take this poll and let us know whether you ever take work home. If you answer "No," please post in the discussion whether it's because your employer doesn't allow you to work more than 40 hours per week.

J.Ja

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

56 comments
Legitimate Work From Home Jobs
Legitimate Work From Home Jobs

I have been working from home for over 10 years now. I love it!! It gives you the freedom to do what you want, when you want. I do work for an actual company. They actually encourage us to work from home. It saves them money and we get more independence. We can choose to work at the office or work from home. We can take the work home from the office if we like.

amolpradhan
amolpradhan

Yes I work for more than 40 hrs a weeek

mahansench
mahansench

I do not take work home. I am currently working in a Trading Company in Europe and the 40-hour week does not exist here. We work more like a 50 hour week if not more. The only time I work from home is when I have vacation (to check e-mails for emergencies only). I do have the choice to work form home instead of going to the office if the need comes up.

Atta-Kakra
Atta-Kakra

To have time for my family I do not work at home. As an ICT Training Coordinator/Instructor/Supervisor I work more than 8 hours daily(10 to 12 hours)and I'm paid only for the normal working hours and no overtime. So why should I work at home?

knsravan
knsravan

No.. My employer doesn't allow me to take work home.

ogregator
ogregator

Well, not quite. On rare occassions. But since I'm after hours tech support so technically I guess I do. That's the problem when you're IT, like coppers, we're only paid a certain amount of hours a day but we're expected to be available 24/7. So really, companies are getting a bargain as far as staff's concerned. Can't say for US laws, but in Australia, if we're to apply the law to the letter to IT staff, most companies would be in serious breach of industrial and OHS laws and regulations. But since we love our work so much, we don't bitch about it as much as some other professions do.

gypkap
gypkap

Most places I've worked, I wasn't allowed to work at home. I have worked at home a few times when I was allowed to work at home, a deadline was coming up and I needed to get something done while it was fresh in my mind. In one job, I had VPN and could work from home but on software stored at work. I used that a few times.

kruegerc
kruegerc

If I'm in the middle of something big I might stay late, but taking work home is not an option I ever wanted. I made that very clear from my first day. I'm happy to put in my time but when I walk out the door my time is my own. That is my choice.

nziokibm
nziokibm

No, I've to play my Trumpet, look at the newspaper & study.

Eric Hall
Eric Hall

Although files and projects are normally capable of closure at the end of the workday, the ominous habit of waking nightly to ponder some facet of code, projects or garish office "politics" can be grueling enough.

jmarkovic32
jmarkovic32

I'd rather sit at home and finish my work with my wife chatting on the phone in the background, Spongebob on the TV, and the aroma of dinner cooking on the stove than to have peace and quiet in my cluttered dungeon of an office. No one on their deathbead ever regretted not spending more time at work.

john.folkes
john.folkes

No. It is rarely necessary and I value my private and family life too much to let work interfere with it.

LvTravel
LvTravel

I don't take work home but more often then not I am coming in earlier or staying later. If I took work home besides that I'd never have a life.

Claptrap1
Claptrap1

Many mention about getting work/family balance right, to my mind indicates that this is a difficult issue, needing careful thought and effort and maybe negotiation with other family members - that's a lot of energy wasted for juggling! At least until things fall into routine. Personally I find that the trips to work prepares me for my job role maybe think of the task ahead and going home gives time to wind down by the time I get home. If I took work home I fear I would not see my home as such a great place for relaxation but as an extention of my work place and the amount of time taken off from family could slip into longer periods, or my mind not being there 100% when I'm with family. It's no good to start doing work after the kids are in bed either, that's the quality adult time one needs to have with the significant other. Sleep is important, too, and I cannot wind down for a while so working near bedtime is the best way of falling asleep at small hours and being too tired to concentrate the next day. Years ago I was working for a small company where the office was just couple of rooms in a family house. It was really tough for the small kid, knowing mummy was so close but unobtainable. I've also experienced the same, waiting for my partner to say "I've finished for tonight", so I decided I will NOT bring work home if I can possibly help it.

blwhite
blwhite

My response is most nights. Using flex time to be there for family events which are often late afternoon/early evenings, most nights I log back on after the kids are in bed. There is clearly a work vs family balance which we need to maintain...bringing work home for late night time is the way I mange it.

jdclyde
jdclyde

If there was something I needed to know, I would go home, learn it on my equipment, and then come back to work and do it. After 10+ years of that, I was laid off. Next job, would do some of the same, including checking work email from home. Now that my hours have been drastically cut back, if it isn't done in the office, it isn't going to get done. Edit to add: I still do "work" at home of learning new technology, but it is things that interest me, not what is needed in the office. When I go to my next job, it will depend on how they treat me. Any employee can be replaced in the blink of an eye, but family time can not be. I don't plan on giving up family time for a job.

silvergrrl
silvergrrl

I do not. My company would be fine with it, and I work with people who do. But I draw firm boundaries around how many of my hours they get, and I believe it makes me a better employee. Like others have mentioned, I still have mental chatter, and one time I did have to get up @ 3am and actually sign on & make a coding change just so I could get back to sleep. But that was once.

Osiyo53
Osiyo53

I voted "a few times a month". To clarify, I do much of my work from home in the first place. When working from home I hold to a "working hours" schedule. But, a few times a month I do put in extra hours beyond those "regular working hours". In the particular specialty I am in, I don't know a single person out there who does not. Its a time and scheduling thing. Most of the work I and my coworkers do is contracted work, with a firm due date. With financial penalties if a scheduled project completion date is not met. So if work progress is lagging behind, each of us starts burning the midnight oil so-to-speak, so as to play catch up. The deadline WILL be met. Period. Its the nature of the kind of work we do.

bashir.yahaya
bashir.yahaya

I like going home and forgetting the office so i can concentrate in the family affair only. some times i even switch off my cell phone so no body will disturb me while am with my family.

rranu
rranu

Yes, family is a priority.

francisjake
francisjake

No. Taking work at home is not very good for the family. If you need to work then go to the office. If you need to be with your family. Go home.

melekali
melekali

There are limits on overtime and it has to be preapproved.

itpro_z
itpro_z

I don't take work from my job home, but I do sometimes take work home. The typical scenario is that a coworker comes by and asks if I do work on the side. They then tell me that their home computer is messed up and offer to pay me if I will take a look at for them. Usually, this involves cleaning viruses and tuning up the machine, and the extra cash is always welcome.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I can't work at home effectively. There are too many distractions, especially when the cat starts walking across the keyboard. I'd rather stay late until the job is done. Once I walk out the door, I'm done for the day. Although, as someone else noted, it's often impossible to stop the mental wheels from turning.

RobHallums
RobHallums

I work from home... the problem I find is that I take work out with me! It's a strange feeling working from home, ranging from near depression to massive highs. Thankfully Glasscubes makes it slightly less manic and slightly more organised!

sergioms_li
sergioms_li

I had a job where I took that option, and I have to say that it was my choice because I thought it was a good thing. In my particular case, it really wasn't, and the main reason is that this thing requires not just your personal efforts but sometimes really hard efforts and understanding from your family in order to you get the concentration in certain things, and that can be very dificult when you have 1 to 4 year-old children. So, most of the time you are physically at home, but for the rest of the family is have to be like you're completly out of there.

MichP
MichP

Only when I want to (play with a new device over the weekend) or to be thorough (does that installation work on a Windows 98 machine?). That happens maybe once or twice a year, and takes no more than a couple hours. No employer requirements involved one way or the other.

bdonovan
bdonovan

Used to take a lot home. It has gotten very old at this point. Now realize it is not necessay. Life is better and less stressful with out that nonsense.

EliSko
EliSko

As a commuter, I take work "home" meaning out of the office, 2-4 times per week. I do a lot of catching up on reading and editing documents on buses during the 1 - 1.5 hours travel time each way. But that work comes out of the briefcase at home maybe once or twice a month, at most. Family comes first (when I'm home), but I have no allegiance to the bus drivers or my fellow commuters! :)

dev
dev

I work as a developer for a very small business. The two owners have high regard for family time and while they take work home, do not expect employees too. Then again, they don't provide us with laptops or cell phones and our only support is to the office phone. We've asked to be able to telecommute, even once or twice a week, but there's been no movement in that direction. I suppose there's a blessing in that once we leave the office, we leave work!

ls1313
ls1313

I would rather take my work home most of the time, but my employer has been insisting that people stay in the office when possible for teamwork purposes (i.e., we can walk into someone's cubicle and review the issues with them rather than trying to do it virtually).

william.weldon
william.weldon

I have no requirement to take work home or to work more than 40 hours/week.

Dr_Zinj
Dr_Zinj

Company policy is to not allow access to the information from home due to risks for violation of confidentiality, privacy, and HIPAA; which REALLY limits what you can do. Unfortunately, that doesn't stop my mind from worrying at a problem while away from work. Always keep a pencil and small pad of paper handy for whenever the muse clobbers me with an "AH HA!" moment. Pencils are easily sharpened, don't run out of ink or batteries, and I've never had a problem forgetting to remove them when entering an MRI room.

becky.cashdollar
becky.cashdollar

I would rather work through my lunch than to go home late or take work home. Luckily, my job rarely requires after hours work. However, over the years, I've found employers are all too willing to add more work when they find out that you can get it done. They could care less if you're working twenty hours at home on your own time. All they care is that they are getting more done for less. I have a friend at a different company that is probably working for $2 an hour if you factor in all the work she does at home. These are the same companies that do not give raises adequate to the output of work.

Lionfan1991
Lionfan1991

Not allowed -- US government, most classified work. Makes it nice -- leave work, leave everything behind. Can't even talk about work much outside the office! :-)

linda.rogers
linda.rogers

I don't take work home because it's not allowed. State Government, Union covered position etc.

andersone
andersone

No Way - Family First. I'm a single dad with a teenager at home and chasing after her sports life keeps my non working hours busy enough. I do ponder on the days problems before I fall asleep and hope my subconscience mind will present a soulution by morning. I have no ambition to become someone more important than I already am (AKA - the boss). I am nearing 60 and I learned from my pears - don't miss you kids growing up - they only do it once. Soccer Dad

candy.robinson
candy.robinson

I don't think this is such a black and white issue anymore. People work around the clock more than they used to, flexing time available as needed. Makes work and home more intertwined. Luckily, I haven't yet succumbed to the Blackberry, but I do often shift my work hours in order to accomodate all of my passions.

knsravan
knsravan

My employer doesn't allow me to take work home.

dharris
dharris

We are migrating from a AS/400-Cobol-RPG shop to windows based using Visual Studio as a workbench. Both programmers(me and another guy) were given laptops to connect to work to learn the Visual Studio at our own pace and mostly on our own time. It has been successful so far. I would prefer to work from home than working late in the shop

rfolden
rfolden

... I realised that what most people think of as a "great work ethic**" is doing nothing more than killing them, sometimes not-so-softly. I "especially" discontinued this abominable practice after my company recently implemented "strict" work hours and make me an hourly employee. You want me to work an inflexible schedule and "no overtime" when I was working 60+ hours a week as a salaried employee? That's exactly what you'll get! ** getting in all those off-hours at home after already spending 60+ hours a week at work.

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

I have a few coworkers with the opposite problem...their mental wheel bearings appear to be seized. :)

ITCompGuy
ITCompGuy

Consider yourself blessed. I used to think that having a position of responsibility would be great. Well, I am in the position where I am required to be on-call at least 1/4 of the year for a month at a time. That is the official schedule. Then there are the weekends that required maintenance has to occur during off hours, and did I mention that I have to carry a Blackberry? I am ALWAYS on. I even have my blackberry when I am on vacation, and have been contacted by co-workers and bosses with questions about work. I love what I do for a living, but I think that some people do not understand the life of an IT person. I think that most workers can get off and leave work at work. Other than emergency personnel, law enforcement, or some medical staff, IT workers are asked to do a lot of "off the clock" work that is expected. Since family is a high priority for most, I think that IT workers do this because they ARE concerned for the well-being of the family. Unemployment is not good for the overall well being of the family.

Saraline
Saraline

I would not bring work home for after the work time, it is the time belong to me and my family or friends.

kokopelli.
kokopelli.

For me it is really important to have a good work-life balance. I work very effectively and don't mind doing overtime as long as I have the feeling I will recover the time later. At the same time I don't really see an end in side sometimes.. I think it is very important to make sure the company knows you value your personal time. Do you work to live or do you live to work?

Dr_Zinj
Dr_Zinj

A consequence of our living longer and healthier is that many men, and some women, find themselves in the position of being able to start an entirely new family and raising a second crop of kids. I haven't seen all the stats on that yet, but preliminary observations are that parents do better the second time around. Practice makes perfect and they make most of their mistakes on the first set of kids. (Poor kids.) The downside is that genetic and developmental risks increase at an accelerated rate the older you get; and women also start bumping into the menopause range.

dwherry
dwherry

I certainly agree with your comment on flexing time. I check messages before I leave to work out in the morning and before I go to bed so I'm not blindsided by anything when I get to the office. I on the other hand am Blackberry tethered so I often wonder if I am ever completely away from work.

Osiyo53
Osiyo53

"it is really important to have a good work-life balance" This should go without having to be said. The issue to be solved is, "Just what is a good work-life balance?" And that's a matter of personal preference, view, and judgment. There is no "One answer fits all." to that question. For some, simply having to work at all is viewed as an onerous chore that intrudes upon their personal life and takes time away from it ... and is thus resented. At the other end of the scale, there are those who view the work that they do not simply as WORK they MUST do, whether they wish to or not. They also consider their work as a vocation, a calling, a personal interest, a hobby ... an activity that they enjoy and which gives them a sense of accomplishment. For instance, when I was a youth for several years I worked after school and on weekends at a small neighborhood grocery store. Owned and operated by two brothers. Both worked long hours daily and took few days off of work. On alternating weeks one would take a whole day off and during the in-between week would take a half day (on Sunday morning). In a year, each would take a single 1 week vacation. Now, they were the bosses, and their business was successful. They weren't getting rich but were definitely comfortable as concerns income. So they could have done pretty much whatever they wished. But the thing is that running that store wasn't "just a job" with either of them. It was one of the joys of their lives. And it was very much a part of their personal lives. It wasn't just work, their store was a place they enjoyed being. Many of their customers were close and long time friends. Some of their suppliers were guys they'd grown up with and gone to school with. And the grocery business was "in their blood". Even at home, or on a family picnic, or at parties they, and their families and friends often discussed "the business". It was a favored topic. I know, as I was regularly invited to said picnics or parties. Since as an employee, I was considered part of the family. I can remember old Joe, one of the brothers, telling me one time when I was a young teenager, "Its not so important how much money you make, as long as it is enough to feed your face and put a roof over your head. Nor should you care about how prestigious or important your job might seem to others. Its more important that you find a job doing something you like to do, that you're interested in doing. Or one that you can learn to like doing. And then learn to be the very best at that job that you can be. Its not necessary to be the BEST, just that you know that you've given it your personal best efforts. That's all anyone can ask or expect. And there is pride to be had in that. Then, everyday you can look in a mirror and stand tall and be proud of yourself. Its easier to work hard and well if you like doing what you're doing and know that at the end of the day you've given it your best." And he went on, "That's more important than exactly what you decide to do for a living. Think about it. Its better to be a janitor who enjoys that kind of work, who knows he does a da*n good job at it and is proud of his accomplishments than it is to be a bank President who hates his job and dreads having to go to work each day." Of course, I paraphrased Joe here. I don't remember the exact words. But I'll bet I have most of it correct. And 100% of the meaning. Over the years I've done a great many different kinds of jobs (I'm 60 years old). Not all of them being my 1st pick or most wanted work. Sometimes that just wasn't possible. But I always had a sort of "order of preference" in my head. So if the exact type of work I wanted wasn't to be had, at that moment, I'd pursue #2, or #3, etc. Once I got that, I'd be happy, it was on the list. And got me one step closer to the goal. And I'd dive in and give it my best efforts. And would step lively when going home at the end of the day knowing in my own mind I'd done well. Didn't matter if anyone else knew. Was only important that -I- knew. Of course, along the path of life, I made mistakes. This or that job might've looked good to me at first, but once I was into it I found out it wasn't a good fit for whatever reason. I'd still put my best into it but would start looking for something else that I'd enjoy doing more. If there was something holding me back from doing whatever, such as lack of knowledge, I'd start studying on my own to take away that roadblock. And/or if needed, I'd drop the former job which had a higher pay rate (and maybe position) and take a low level beginners position in the new work. Didn't matter, got me into something I thought I'd enjoy more. This, BTW, worked for me several times. Net result, I do what I do today. And its a job of a type I only dreamed about in my earlier years. Back then (after trying out numerous types of jobs), I fixed and operated mechanical, electrical, electronic, and computer controlled systems. Now I design them, field test them, and find and remove the bugs. It pays nicely, but I'm never gonna be rich. Nor do I care. I LIKE what I do. Its as much a part of me and who I am as is fishing, vegetable gardening, etc. Other activities that give me pleasure and satisfaction. Of course, that doesn't mean I enjoy all parts of my trade, nor every hour or day of the work. Some days just suck. But that's life. Some days of fishing can be pretty sucking, too. But I take those in stride and just like many other fishermen, after such days we'll later sit around and swap stories about who had the worst fishing experience ... and all laugh about them. Yah gotta accept the bad and unpleasant things in life along with the good. Otherwise, how do you differentiate good from bad, or pleasant from unpleasant? If its all the same, all the time and every time ... good is no longer good ... its just boring and unremarkable. Nothing special at all. I love vegetables, especially fresh right out of one's garden. They're fresher and usually of a better and tastier variety than the commercially grown one gets in a store. Now, I suppose one could try just buying some from a neighbor who grows his or her own. But then something would still be missing from the experience. i.e. There are days when tending to gardening that I really hate it. Days when its hot and humid, I'm sweating a** off. Getting bit to heck by bugs. Stung by bees. Maybe its been a difficult week and I'm tired and would much rather be taking a nap or sitting with feet propped up sipping cold tea. I might be cursing my garden, the world, and myself for my fool ideas. But, to get something ... at least something worthwhile ... yah gotta give something. That is unless you're one of those types who'd just rather sit around and whine and complain and wait for someone else to do the hard work and give you part of the rewards of their efforts. Gardens don't take care of themselves. So I do it, whether or not I feel like it. But in the end, on the days when I can go out and just enjoy the smell of fresh black soil and growing things, and can enjoy the beauty of the growing plants. And then pick some and haul em in the house. Maybe eat em raw in a salad, or cook some fried green tomatoes, or make a fresh stir-fry, or some fresh cream of broccoli soup ... or all of the above. :-) THEN comes the good. I know its good. Not just because its tasty. Because that tomato I'm just slicing, lightly salting and eating raw tastes just so much better because with the enjoyment comes the memories of hours of digging, cultivating, tending to the plants, sweating, and so forth. If I just bought, or was given tomatoes and could have as many as I wanted anytime I wanted. Even if they were the best tomatoes in the world. After a while they'd be ... just ordinary tomatoes. And I'd get bored with em and wouldn't really appreciate them nearly as much, if at all. Whether or not one enjoys work is much the same. Its more a mental thing than some absolute reality, one way or another. Likewise, so is the question of whether one lives to work, or works to live. Neither is an absolute. The real answer might be a bit of both. It might seem that if one could have all anyone might want without working in the least for it that this would be a good thing. And it probably would be for a little while. But I'm thinking (and my experience in knowing several people in such a position says the same) that after some period of time, the situation is no longer "Good" ... its just ordinary, average, expected, boring, etc. There is not much to look forward to that's exciting, different, interesting. Or that feels rewarding, that gives one a sense of accomplishment, self respect, and pride. In such case one might just find oneself existing day to day, as versus LIVING. FWIW, most of the folks I know and have known who didn't HAVE to work, at some point or other found some work to do anyway. Whether it was work for pay, charity work, or whatever. The one's who didn't? Often ended up as drunks or drug addicts, or went off the deep end psychologically, or kept on pursuing ever more hazardous activities until they eventually killed or crippled themselves. Just some food for thought.

dave
dave

Anybody looking at starting a 2nd family simply is not doing the math. I started a family in the mid 30's and I thought that was a bit late. Do people really want to deal with a teenager in their late 50's or early 60's? And your children will have to deal with an aging, ailing parent in their 30's and 40's. There is a definite decline in energy levels with age, even being healthy, and raising a family demands a lot of it.

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