Working from Home, also known as Telecommuting or Teleworking is the dream of thousands, if not millions. Telecommuting technically refers to traditional workers who collect a paycheck but shift their work venue from the office to their homes. It may come as a surprise but there are a lot of benefits to your employer allowing you to telecommute, at least a few days a week. So becoming a Telecommuter can be a very achievable goal.
Okay, I can see you now drifting off in your day dreams picturing how great it will be to sip your Latte while petting the dog and picking away at work on your laptop on the sofa. Perhaps your telecommuting dream is more exotic and you see yourself poolside on some tropical island with a tablet computer and your cellphone as you work on your tan while collecting a paycheck. They are actually both viable realities, but first let’s understand some of the Pros and Cons.
One of the biggest benefits of working from home can be the cost and time savings, which can equal a serious pay increase.
You need to ask yourself some reality questions to know if this is even a direction you wish to take.
- Why do I want to work at home?
- Do I have a dedicated space where I can leave my home office set up? Clearing your laptop off the dining room table for the
kids homework and dinner is not a great option.
- Be honest with yourself. Are you self-motivating? If not, then staying on task and focused without supervision could be a recipe for professional suicide.
- How social are you? Will you miss your colleagues, lunches out and company parties?
- Can you learn on your own if you are isolated from employee training sessions?
- Can you separate work from home life or are you doomed to become a workaholic.
- What are the economics of making this change?
Below are 2 great calculators to see the financial implications.
When John and I pulled into Jacksonville, Florida on our sailboat back in 1997 we’d been working as we wandered for six years. We needed to do a lot of work on the boat at a boatyard. We were low on money, and I was feeling restless. I was in need of a mental challenge and the prospect of a summer sweat-a-thon in a backwoods boatyard was pretty unappealing. So I told John that I wanted to try my hand at corporate work. For most of my adult like I’d been self-employed. I wasn’t sure if I could get a corporate job given my resume or if I could measure up.
I was very fortunate in getting in with a Dotcom start-up by the name of Prosoft. They were just going public on the NASDAQ stock exchange and I was hired to sell their courses. The company was off to meteoric growth. Within a few months, my ability to maintain my abundant cheerfulness was waning. Cubical life didn’t suit me and the noise and distractions of the office impacted my ability to focus. I approached the CEO and asked to work from home. Telecommuting was in its infancy. I knew I was asking a lot. The company had hundreds of employees across the U.S. but none of them were working from home. I built my case for why it was good for them, good for me and he agreed to a 3 month trial. I was so excited.
Within a few days I had my huge company computer and wall phone with attached headset installed in my new home office. The four white walls and quiet were like a blank palette and I immersed myself in work. Sales soared, the CEO was ecstatic and the other employees jealous. The experiment was so successful that within six months, I was promoted to head of West Coast Sales.
When the Dotcom bubble popped and like most of the employees I got laid off I never had to look for work. I just made a few phone calls and I was immediately in business as an independent contractor, with a proven track record of working independently and already set up in my home office.
The moral of this tale is that for some people working from home is a catalyst for productivity and success. I never looked back. Sixteen years later we are proud to say that we both earn our income working from home…..oh that’s another story.
If you think you want to work at home it is easier now than ever before. In upcoming posts we will provide more strategies.