Working from home often DOESN'T work :-(

I’m specifically talking here from the view point of the end user trying to speak to a company or organisation where the other party is working from home.

We’re (my wife and I) finding that, in the majority of cases, it’s really doesn’t work :frowning:

Typical issues are the other end (home worker) is doing everything on a mobile phone with rubbish quality; though, tbh, poor call quality is one of my big bugbears - oh the days of perfect quality land line calls! Also the home worker is using rubbish wifi for their connectivity. Also the home worker hasn’t got the details available. &c. I could rant on and on but, from the customers point of view, home working is really poor.

tbh it could be done right: Proper internet connection and a dedicated phone line or good voip. It’s like my old neighbour. She’s high up in a PLC and has a very high paying management job. She was dead chuffed re. her new loft office but trying to do it all over wifi which she admits was stuttering and cutting out and she was not giving a good impression and it was costing the PLC some serious money. The fix was I gave them a box of cat5 and a fifty quid access point. A few hours one Saturday morning and all is now perfect. It’s not rocket science!

We’ve also been partaking of a lot of calls with the council and social workers. Again REALLY poor quality calls with home workers. We had one the other day and, honestly, we put the phone down after a couple of mins - it was just so bad!

Sorry… morning rant over with; prompted by listening to SWMBO on the phone - us on a proper land line - with the council on another rubbish mobile.


I was home based in the 1990s (much against my will) . WiFi was non existent but we did have an extra land line installed and (if I remember rightly) a dedicated phone line for the dial up

Totally understand your frustrations , suspect a lot more home basing will occur - or a lot of home office come garden buildings , not rocket science to sort out

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We’re looking for a new house and the particulars make a big song-and-dance if it has ‘an office’. Often this seems to be the smallest bedroom with a desk and shelf squeezed in - BIG DEAL! Some times it’s a shed down the garden but without a LAN or phone line connection! tbh I’m NOT impressed.


Yes, my office was the smallest bedroom .

As someone used to tell me, the only constant in life is change , and I guess home-working has become an accelerated process as a result of CV19

And the Land Line whilst deeply unfashionable is an asset.

It’s really the fault of your ex neighbour, not company she works for. She’s not managed the move to the loft very well. :cowboy_hat_face:

Why didn’t she check if wifi worked in the loft, before starting to work from there. Surely a PLC would have an IT department she should have consulted before the move.

I work for a small company that employ less than 20 people, all working from home. The owner has told everybody to contact the IT company we employ, if we need any equipment/advice. They buy the equipment from Amazon for delivery next day, or come and install.

A month ago it upgraded the IP phone system. Being a small profitable company it was able to do so easily and at little cost.

However, it’s not feasible for a large organisation (such as a council) to do so. The expense couldn’t be justified, especially as a lot of people will be returning to the office in a few months time.


If you can’t get a dedicated phone line then Voip is as cheap as chips to install. Worse case a hundred quid voip phone though you can do it cheaper if needs must via a PC. If you’re existing exchange can’t do the call routing then you might need to talk to a specialist company that can supply a voip link to your call package. However, with the council, it’s a case of leave a message and then you get a rubbish call back via a mobile! If it’s mainly for outgoing calls then you wouldn’t even need a fancy telephone system - just sign a deal with a voip provider… heck even business skype can do this!

tbh it can be done without much expense however it does need the home workers to have a proper internet connection. I think this is the route issue, people with rubbish internet.

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The problem is, like most people, they just assume wifi is brilliant and works everywhere. Honestly it doesn’t! :frowning: Ditto mobile phones…


Some people approach technology with cynicism and caution, others with wide eyed innocence believing it will do what it says on the tin.

And if there is anybody on this forum that believes all the technological promises (like you can’t scratch CDs) I would like to sell you a ticket for the Zimbabwean National Lottery


I have been working from home for about 8 out of the last 10 years, doing technology based roles for US startups who typically do not have a full UK office presence.

The last six years I have been blessed with a Gigabit full fibre internet connection, which is faster than many Offices I have worked in. To be honest I don’t know how I managed before. But I do remember when on a voice call, you had to be very careful not to do something like send an email with an attachment or the voice call would drop (which was quite common when interacting with customers). During the recent lockdowns, my Wife has also been working from home and we have both been on concurrent video calls and using interactive cloud based applications without any conflicts.

I certainly feel for those trying to work from home without a decent connection and can see the potential issues. Just as pertinent is the space to work. I am lucky having a dedicated office, but my Wife had to work from the dining table, which was less than ideal. I do have work colleagues who have really struggled just from lack of physical space.

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On the whole my experience of contacting orgs with workers at home has been pretty good. They generally have OK kit.

However a solicitor we have been using has been appalling. They’ve totally locked down their offices, outsourced their reception and work from home, don’t respond in a timely manner and keep telling us (10 owner/residents) that there is a pandemic on!!
We did have to collect some documents because they seemed incapable of posting them. They had hazmat suits on when we went to get them.

That last bit was an exaggeration.

One of my sons sells music equipment and they’ve worked all the way through even with shop shut. There is a vast work force out there fulfilling our needs, that are hidden from view …count Naim production in that.


I thought that’s fairly typical Solicitor behaviour…


One of the unsung heroes of the pandemic have been delivery people , not out of sight, but often out off mind once our interaction is over.


Can’t beat a bit of good ole cat5/6 6e maybe 7 or whatever it is now, no matter how good wifi is.


I have been working from home for 12 years now including one from rural France. Internet speed was atrocious and made handling large drawing file sizes a nightmare. Had we stayed in France we would have had to move to a town to get better internet speed.

We have been working from home now for over a year without any major issues. Before COVID we worked from home 1-2 days per week.

We have most of our team calls on VOIP (Teams etc.) which works fine. Having said that our typically fast and stable Internet connection dropped last week due to a line fault. While waiting for an engineer visit we had to tether to our mobiles which wasn’t ideal :unamused:

Before I retired I had worked from home (as a software engineer) for about 20 of the last 30 years of my working life. Absolutely wonderful - loved it. I could work with very little interruption, no office politics, easy access to others when I needed it - and no commute. I had a decent-sized office (not a small bedroom). One company that I worked for (Actinic) was entirely home based apart from the sales people, who had a central office, but otherwise we all worked from home, with an annual (or thereabouts) week-long get-together to keep in touch, learn stuff, discuss things. Worked extremely well.

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I think working from home goes wrong where your job involves ‘front-of-house’; so your job involves a lot of direct customer contact by phone. If you sit at a desk doing 99% on your PC or via email then having a rubbish phone line, or even internet connection, doesn’t really matter that much. I’m lucky that I’ve managed to delegate all of the direct customer call handling to office based staff. I spend a lot of time doing email and remote desktop and I still find that popping into the office once or twice a week helps to clear matters that need face-to-face with staff.

100% agree, all my office kit is hardwired along with TV, NAS and streamer.
That said my wife managed to work from her laptop over wi-fi for a number of months without issue

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Unless theres a suitably large invoice involved?