We have decided to tackle one of the business world’s greatest debates: Working from home- Awesome or Awful?? Personally, some of the hardest working people we know do business from the comfort of their own home – ourselves occasionally included. But is it beneficial to the company or just one huge distraction?
For those who spend 8-10 hours a day under fluorescent lights in a tiny cubicle, we understand your bitterness. But we want to settle a few rumors. Thanks to programs like Skype and WebEx, meetings can be held virtually, so onesie pajamas don’t exactly fit that dress code. And while music can be played at maximum volume, screencasting makes it impossible to surf YouTube or BuzzFeed all day long.
But there are some true benefits, especially for those who spend an extra 2 hours a day sitting in the parking lot that is I-95. The ability to go for a run or hit the grocery store mid-day is wonderful, as is full access to the kitchen. Those who are given an hour lunch break in the office tend to take the full 59 minutes and 59 seconds. When working from home, it is more common to grab something from the pantry and snack while working. We are finding that those working from home are more productive and also lead healthier lives because of that extra time not spent commuting or waiting in line at the fast food joint next door to the office. So if you have the option to work from home, we suggest it but not without a little guidance:
-Be knowledgeable of social media and networking tools.
Because you no longer have cubicle neighbors, you need to make time to stay connected with coworkers and clients. Start conversations, spark each other’s creativity, and keep people motivated. It is a good outlet for you to prevent from going stir-crazy.
-Set a where and when.
While you do have the entire house/café as your office, that doesn’t mean you should stretch out your work all day to the point that you are fitting in meetings after dinner and between soccer games. Set a time frame and work during those hours so you have time to run errands and be with family. This means when your allotted work hours are over, be able to shut down, step away from emails and focus on life outside of work.
-Get out of the house!
Instead of creating an office space on the couch and trying to work while watching Real Housewives (we know which will get more attention), sit at the kitchen table, or better yet get out of the house a few days a week! Research shows that light background chatter increases productivity, so head to your favorite café and set up camp. Another brand new idea- Work Bar. We have seen a few popping up in Boston and find them to be GENIUS. Pay a monthly fee and get access to a kitchen, office supplies, a full bar and other entrepreneurs looking to strike conversations.
-Don’t become invisible
One of the greatest fears of becoming a virtual worker is that you become invisible to the company and to your superiors. That doesn’t have to be the case. Chime in, speak up and don’t be afraid to show your face at meetings or company events. Be the extrovert we know you can be!