Do I really wear pajamas when I work from home? A bathrobe and slippers? Not really, but since I go to the gym daily after my workday, I do wear workout clothes and sneakers. That is a huge savings on not having to have an office attire wardrobe. I think the most important issue with working from home – are you disciplined in concentrating on your work? Are you going to get distracted by chores, your backyard (the pool in the summer!), or your family? Are you organized? As an EDI provider, I work with dozens of clients, and I have a folder for each that is easily accessible that I can pull if they have an emergency. I have found what works for me. A file folder area on top of my desk, with the folders of the clients I am actively working on and the other folders filed away.
Working from home allows for greater flexibility when it comes to doctor’s appointments, family commitments, etc., as long as you get the work done you’ve committed to and getting in your company’s required weekly hours. You do need to set boundaries with your family. Do family members just waltz in your office? You might be on Skype, a Webex or Google Hangouts with a client or coworker. You’re hoping a child does not walk in yelling that they have poop in their diaper. Or your husband comes in asking when dinner is ready. Or your mother-in-law wanting to chat up a storm because you “only work from home.” Or a friend or neighbor just stopping over. When my children were little and if they happened to be at home when I was working, I had a hands-up stop motion that they knew unless they were bleeding, they were to walk away.
Speaking of your office, do you have a dedicated area or a room in your house to accommodate your situation? More and more home buyers are looking for that extra bedroom that can be a home office. Do you have a dedicated phone line for your office? You do not want your clients calling on your home phone line.
What about weather issues? Living in New England, we have hurricanes causing power outages and sometimes massive snowstorms. Advantages from working from home – no snow shoveling and no scary driving. Disadvantages, when everyone else has a snow day, you do not unless you lose power or your internet connection. That happened many times this past winter for me. Everyone I knew, had the day off, but I did not. Along with the driving, working from home is also green thinking. Telecommuting has helped reduce the carbon footprint. In 2013, gasoline consumption per person had fallen 17% from 2004.
Recently I had knee surgery, leaving me in a brace for 3 weeks and on crutches for 8 weeks. Most people with my recovery would have been out of their office for 6-8 weeks. I had surgery on a Thursday, and the following Monday I started back to work 5 hours a day and by the second week, I was back nearly full-time. I think that it was a huge advantage for my company and my clients because I was able to keep my current projects moving along without needing much co-worker coverage.
Speaking of my clients, when I am not going to be in the office during normal business hours, I update my clients that I am actively working with when I will be there. It minimizes any confusion on when I will be working on their projects. When a client has had the need for some extra hours, it’s a little easier to do that when you are working from home. It seems easier to fit in the time. In the EDI business, we often encounter clients that have off-hours needs, like installing or updating software. Or an emergency with their software or processing. Working from home makes that much easier to navigate.
Many managers feel that remote work can increase worker productivity. There are no distractions like water cooler gossip, impromptu meetings, and loud colleagues are a non-issue, according to an infographic based on data from SurePayroll, a web-based payroll provider for small businesses. Eighty-six percent of those surveyed said they preferred to work alone to “hit maximum productivity.” Fewer distractions (for the disciplined remote worker) can lead to higher efficiency, a report from ConnectSolutions concluded. The numbers: some 30 percent said that telecommuting allowed them to accomplish more in less time, while 24 percent of those surveyed said they could accomplish more in about the same amount of time.
Working from home = a lot less stress!
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