11 Oct Home Alone: Things to Keep in Mind About Working From Home
For a long time, no one considered the idea of employees working from home. For one, jobs were more likely to be physical, such as in factories or agriculture, where it was impossible to not be on site. Even those jobs that were not physical jobs were still too hard to do from home, because for years lack of technology made it too difficult to engage with colleagues and clients. But in the digital era, a vast range of solutions is available for the 43% of Americans who work from home (at least part of the time). Should you join them?
Working from home could be great – if you keep in mind the following:
Independence Days. The first thing that leaps to mind about working from home is the freedom. No commute, no noise to distract, no unnecessary or unproductive distractions that naturally arise in an office environment.
That’s all true. But, here’s the other side – you, bouncing around the four walls of your house or apartment. You should realize that you will be on your own — with no one to talk to, no one to bounce ideas off of, no one to just chat to for five minutes for the inevitable mental break that’s needed. And there are a lot of ways to counteract that – just be ready to.
Production issues. Are you easily distracted? If so, your initial reaction might be that it’s a slam-dunk to work from home. After all, no more chatty colleagues, no alluring but time-killing office chat about last night’s game, or this week’s Westworld.
However, here is what working from home does offer: the fridge, the tv, the closet you keep meaning to clean out, and possibly a partner, children or pet. It might seem when you’re working at the office that your house is quietly waiting at home for you. But if you are the type to wander off task, you won’t even have the guilt of your boss seeing you to bring you back into focus.
Climate control. Most companies today have at least a general policy on working remotely. Obviously you need to confirm that working from home is even a possibility. But the reality is, what does your boss think? Your colleagues? Your clients?
If working from home is technically possible but politically inadvisable, think carefully about if and how you can balance those concerns. If the concerns are communication, set up a regular call to check in, or weekly email to update people. If the issues are around managing direct reports, make sure that everyone on your team feels you are accessible.
Working from home should be good for your career, and your life.
There are a lot of great reasons to work from home. But the biggest reason of all has to be that it’s good for you, both professionally and personally. You need to ensure that you can stay focused, do a great job, and manage any challenges that come. And, that you can resist cleaning out that closet.