I work for a great company. We have awesome offices with all amenities, and public transport brings me there and back for CA$6 in a reasonable time. Still, I’m mostly working from home these days.
Here’s a list of reasons. A lot refer to the pano shot above :-)
No commute time
Even 45 minutes each way is quite some time to invest ever day. I can also use these 1.5 hours to do work, or do nothing, or shop, or whatever. So let’s start with the premise that there must be a real upside for this investment. In my employer’s case, we’re a distributed team, pretty well setup for remote work. So even if I go to the office, I only see a small part of my colleagues. I like my colleagues, but I be quite effective from home as well with Slack and Hangouts and whatnot at our disposal.
Door and Walls
I don’t know who thought that open plan offices for people that need to do work that requires “flow” was a grand idea. Certanly not a software developer. I guess it was a sales guy, or someone else who can do their job when working in interrupt mode. I can’t. My home office comes with walls and a door so I can focus when needed. My office desk comes with neither; I can use my noise canceling headphones, of course, but then see “commute time” - why would I spend 1.5 hours every day just so I can sit behind a desk where I am forced to wear headphones if I want to focus?
Apple, I get it. Shiny monitors have a better color rendition. But guess what, I’m not a photographer (professionally). I’m fine if the blue is off a bit in my IDE color scheme. Also, shiny monitors excel in rooms that have controlled lighting, like “no light on my screen at all, please”. Open plan offices typically fail there. Then there’s the bit that Apple’s monitor stand leaves little room for adjustment. On the picture, my monitor stand is not installed yet (I’m waiting for a part), but I predict it is going to be ugly and ergonomic. Open plan offices with lots of Apple Cinema Displays are pretty much exactly the other way around. This monitor is a cheapo Samsung 4k (I usually use it at 3k though), is very much non-glare, and a pleasure to work with. I can probably buy four of them for a single Apple display.
It’s big (I am big). It’s ugly (yup, like its owner). It has more knobs and settings than (insert steelcase, herman miller, other designer chair), the chair you see at a typical office. I could get one at work, of course, but my thinking is that it should not be a special request but rather a checklist item at hiring - what kind of chair do you need, rather than what kind of chair we got a bulk discount on and was liked by our interior designer?
Daylight is the stuff that regulates your circadian rhythm and typically is not emitted by office lighting. At a previous job, I managed to fix stuff by buying and installing daylight FL tubes, but I still prefer the real deal. My home office has a plenty and free supply of it :-).
The couch is a nice change of posture from my desk chair. I use it when thinking, scribbling, or reading. I never use the couches at the office because I typically use my home couch for focused work and our couches are in spots where a lot of people move around, not in secluded areas (which are rare to begin with in open plan offices).
See also “door and walls”. By the way, these are very cheap speakers by Logitech and I love them. I like listening to music in proper stereo coming out of speakers more than I like listening to music through a headphone. Personal taste, I know. Incidentally, next to the left speaker is an excellent Sennheiser headset, made to be worn for long periods by gamers. I still like nothing on my head better, but this headset is awesome for those long meetings on Hangouts :)
We have a central bookshelf - multiple actually - at work, but call me egocentric, I want my own. I actually solve problems now and then by staring at my bookshelf–some title jumps out and gives me the little nudge towards a solution. This, of course, is quite personal. I like books, I like leafing through them, I like staring at my collection of knowledge-on-paper for inspiration.
There are more reasons to like a home office (private bathroom with shower next to it, it also has a ham radio setup, I have a great espresso machine, and the dress code is even more relaxed than at the office). The biggest drawback to working from home so far? I’m making way too many hours. So I’ll probably be looking for a punch clock next :-).