February 7, 2015 at 4:03 pm
When I say to people I work from home I get all kinds of replies but it almost always starts with "Oh that is so nice, you are so lucky, I would do ANYTHING to work from home". Then as you carry on with the conversation it normally always leaves me with the just bite your tongue feeling because you don't want to go postal on the person who suddenly has made you feel like you have a life of eating bonbons while sitting on the couch all day doing nothing. So for my next few blogs I am going to chat about Remote Working - the pros, the cons, the misconceptions and everything else that goes with it.
So first lets start with this. I have been working from home for probably about the last 12 years. For 7 years i worked a few days in the office and a few days at home. Then five years ago I started working 100% from home. Let's clear up the other item of when I say working from home, I mean i have a legitimate job with a company, make a salary and have a career. I do not discount one bit the stay at home mom and will say that is just as much of working from home as you get. Taking care of house and kids is totally a full time job. I on top of that full time job work another job for a great company. I manage a team of about 16 people in the US and another 50 in India. Based on that I have some experience on the whole remote working thing. I will also say these are my opinions, so take them or leave them.
Remote working is not easy. It takes a special kind of person to do it. While everyone says they would love to work from home, the reality is that it is not that easy. When i hire for my team I really have to think about the people I hire. They can be great people, great workers, smart as hell but that has nothing to do with the actual successfulness of working in your home. Working from home is not like this blog where i can set the times i work and just show up when i want. There is a total accountability to having a job in which you are required to be working during certain hours. Many people have the attitude of as long as I get my job done it doesn't matter when i work. And to be honest that is true for many professions but not mine. Our company has core hours in which everyone should be working. The rest of your hours get tacked on at the beginning of the core or the end. Now i do give a slight flexibility with my team but overall I expect to see my team on and working during the day. We have clients and demands from them that have to be met. Many ask how i know when my team is working... this is 2015 do i need to say more? But if you have to know, I rely heavily on our instant messenger system. I can see when everyone is actively working. I have logs of projects completed, when they were completed, how long it took, etc. And then there is the age old IT department that can tell me when everyone was working and what they were doing. So loop this back to the first misconception of sitting back watching tv all day. The reality is that we have a job to do. It needs to be done when it is expected and someone can see what you were doing all day. So no we aren't kicking back doing nothing.
My other favorite thing is the idea that because I am working at home I can do my laundry, make dinner, clean the house. I have to say this is a big one. The reality - well come to my house at any point and I will prove this wrong. My house doesn't get cleaned during the week. I clean up at night, just like every other working family. I do my laundry at night and I NEVER am prepared for dinner. At 5 o'clock on most nights I am still sitting at my desk trying to figure out what in the hell I am going to make the kids for dinner. I am rushing around at night to get everyone to where they need to be on time and my house is still dirty! To be honest, my house was a hell of a lot cleaner when i worked outside of the house but that was because we were never home. I used to work, pick up kids, throw down dinner, run out to activities, shower, bed. There was no time for the kids to destroy the house!
One of the biggest misconceptions is that my job must be really easy or is not really important if I can work from home. I am not going to elaborate too much on this one because honestly this whole topic will be it's on blog post. I often want to scream out why is your job more valued or important than my job because my desk is not sitting in an office so you can sit and stare at me. I look at my team and know this concept is just complete and utter BS. First off i run a whole team, doesn't that count as being kind of important, maybe not but someone has to do it :) Then there is the fact that my team is one of biggest revenue earning departments of our company. The work we do counts for something, well it counts for a lot and that a lot pays a good amount of salaries and impacts the bottom line in a big way.
The last one i will talk about today is that i have it so easy because i don't have to go anywhere. And hey, i won't say it isn't nice not to have to commute to work everyday. Been there, done that, sat in traffic - I've done it. It sucks but you know what, all it did was add more hours to my work day. While most people are commuting i am still working. To be honest, i won't complain much about this. My husband has a long commute every day and i know it sucks. I love not having to commute to work. Unfortunately, I still commute my kids to school every day and back but hey that is a whole other story.
Make sure you come back to read the next blog post of my remote working series. I will talk some more about the pros, the cons... and the funny moments of working from home.
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