Whenever I tell people I work from home, their first response is “OMG … that must be fabulous!”
Well, for the most part being a remote employee definitely is. No need to get dressed-up for an office environment (yes, I still take a shower and throw on clothes!!) or handle a daily commute. At my leisure when I take a break, I can throw in a quick load of laundry or sweep the kitchen floor. Or even take my laptop and phone out to the back porch and work in the fresh air. I can also identify the best hours of the day I’m most productive and creative (for me, it’s the early morning!).
But I also miss-out on being around people, sharing stories and lunches, or simply “getting out”. I tend to check my email several times before and after the normal “9-5” day or work on a research project over the weekend. Many of us remote workers tend to work during lunch or not take that 15-minute coffee break when we need to. So, I do try my best to step away from my computer and get re-energized. I also get out and meet with customers, attend networking events, conferences, happy hours, etc. just to keep my presence out there.
There needs to be a lot of trust in a remote employee relationship. My employer knows I work hard and that I’m not spending an afternoon shopping at the mall or reading at the beach. They don’t check my computer keystrokes, mouse movement or web searches (as many companies do). They trust me to get the job done and put-in an eight-hour day even if they don’t “see” me in the office.
So, if your employer offers you the opportunity to work from home, think about it … try it. It’s definitely rewarding, but is not for everyone. If you’re easily distracted by pets, family members, television, etc. or have no quiet place to call “yours” (a laptop at the kitchen table doesn’t count!), it might not be for you.
But it works for me!
Also published on Medium.