The term ‘Work-From-Home’ is such a mouthful

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The term ‘Work-From-Home’ is such a mouthful it’s driving us crazy at wofome – and we want to change things up. Why?

As I build out this website, I look for inspiration from other websites that make mention of the subject of working from home. The term ‘Work From Home’ or ‘Working From Home’ is a mouthful.

It is not an easy term to use when writing about this topic. It’s wordy and awkward. If you are passionate about writing, the following should be of some enjoyment to you.

To make Work From Home a simpler and easier term to articulate, and in some cases to write, I see three choices:

  • Work-From-Home – hyphenated to make it a single term
    • For example my work-from-home routine. It’s easy enough to say, but a pain to write in every other sentence, as this website (wofome) often demands.

 

  • WFH – an acronym
    • For example my WFH routine. It’s very easy to write, but it doesn’t sound nice if you try saying it. And, some people may not know what WFH means.

 

  • wofome – a contraction, derived as follows:  work from home = wofome
    • For example my wofome routine. It’s easy to write and easy to say. If you say “work from home” over and over quickly, it sounds like wofome. The word wofome also converts nicely to a wofomer – a work-from-home-er (nice and tight!).
    • Here’s how to expand this idea further: I wofome (means I work from home), people who wofome (means people who work from home), I am currently wofoming (I am currently working from home).
    • While you may think this idea sounds silly right now, think about this: which term is more common today:  search it up on the internet – or – Google it? Google it would have seemed silly once upon a time – but only because it was not mainstream, to begin with.

 

What do you think?

 

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The appeal of WFH

Some websites and online articles have settled on the acronym WFH. I originally used this shortcut (acronym) on this website, but I asked a journalist friend to review wofome.com and he advised against this approach.

He said something like this: “Even if you, the writer, and those working with you are comfortable with, and have an immediate understanding of what WFH means, you must never assume your readers have that same level of comfort, familiarity or understanding. At journalist school, they taught us to always spell things out in full, for that very reason…

On his good advice, I did a sweep of the entire wofome.com website and changed WFH back to work-from-home (or working-from-home where more appropriate).

At this point, I am neutral about the result. Yes; it is easier on our reader, but my longer-term hope is that people become so familiar with the acronym WFH, they will eventually and immediately understand its meaning – just like the acronym ‘OMG!’

Does anyone, today, not understand what OMG means?

 

What about the term Remote-Work?

Others have suggested, why not use ‘Remote-Work’ (or ‘Remote-Worker’) instead.  For me, this does not mean the same thing – exactly.

The term Remote-Worker is a catch-all that includes both Wofomers (work-from-home-ers) and workers who work in a remote fashion – wherever their remote location happens to be.

And yes, while this site (wofome) caters for both Wofomers and Remote-Workers, I believe the term that most people are now using is ‘Working-from-home’.

 

Other terms maybe?

Many other terms are used, but with varying levels of popularity. Some examples are:

  • Homeworkers
  • Home-based workers
  • Teleworkers / digital platform workers – employees who use information and communications technologies to perform their work remotely
  • Telecommuters
  • Crowdworkers – service jobs posted on digital labour platforms that are performed by “Crowdworkers” located across the world
  • Industrial Home Workers – goods production undertaken by homeworkers either as part of, or replacing, factory production, but also artisanal production, such as in the making of handicrafts
  • Work-at-home (er). This term is not so commonly used. It fails to imply work you are doing at home might be for someone else – an employer, for example. It can mean you have a personal task to be completed at home.

 

The struggle to define a term is widespread

Even the top worker organisation in the world, the International Labour Organisation, struggles to define the terminology. This is how they try:

Progress in ICT has enabled and facilitated alternative working arrangements, including WFH, teleworking, telecommuting and remote working. These terms are often used interchangeably to refer to new and evolving models of working outside the employers’ premises or workplace. There may be slight differences among these terminologies. For example, some may imply a temporary arrangement while others may imply a long-term arrangement. WFH is considered to be home-based telework the difference being that teleworking may include various locations away from the primary worksite or the employer’s premises (such as mobile working). Telecommuting refers to substituting telecommunications for commuter travel. There are some differences between the terms “teleworking” and “telecommuting”, mainly because telework is broader and may not always be a substitute for commuting, but they are relatively minor. For the purposes of this guide, the terms “teleworking” and “telecommuting” are used interchangeably.

Confused? We are…

 

Look at all these terms!

We are tracking all the popular terms currently in vogue. Here’s the list we’ve compiled so far. (do you know of other terms?)

Can you add to this list? Do you have a better suggestion? Leave a comment if you want.

 

To sum up, we hope a single, all-encompassing term will ultimately reign supreme. We think that term is ‘Wofome’ (and its derivatives Wofomer, wofoming etc.).

Help us get there – spread the word around – share our website link:

(   https://wofome.com   )

 

 

A final note from the team…

As we improve wofome, we are building out our insights and ideas – mostly based on your input. We’d love for you to leave a comment below.

wofome’s main aim is to help make working from home successful for you or your organisation. Help us help you (and others). It’s about learning from each other. If you are currently involved in working from home, you are a work-from-home expert in your own right. Have your say – it will help others. If you are interested in writing a Guest Post for wofome, please go to the Guest Post area.

Thank you
The wofome team

 

Image Credits & Attributions – Check here to see attributions (credits) for non-wofome images used on this website.
 

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