As 2015 comes to an end, it marks a year I’ve spent working remote. I work for a large service provider in managed enterprise services. While I work remote, the majority of my colleagues work in an office somewhere. I personally have really enjoyed being able to work from home. I thought I would share some of my experiences and insights from the past year.
One of the major reason I wanted to work from home was family time. With the nature of my work, it doesn’t really provide me with a flexible schedule (not as much as I would like) however I don’t have a commute and I’m able to see my family throughout the day. I enjoy grabbing some coffee or lunch at home and being able to see my wife or son. When I initially stopped to think about why I was working, and what I was really working toward from a whole life perspective it all came down to family. Working remote has definitely allowed me more time with my family.
One thing I have noticed, it was a fear of mine from the beginning and is still a nagging issue, is the fear or missing out. Since I am not in the office with most of my colleagues I miss out on the water cooler talk and the gossip. I don’t hear news until it has been made official and I usually don’t get the personal insight I would if I was having a chat with my boss in the office. I understand also that since I’m not in the office I don’t get face time with the boss, which could possibly hurt my chances for promotion (out of site, out of mind). However I believe I work hard and do good work, I don’t think that goes unnoticed but I’ve accepted a peer may be considered for promotion before I am. I have acknowledged this, and personally given the choice I would still rather work remote and see my family more often.
I get a lot of comments from friends and family how they could never work from home. They’d just stay in their pajamas all day and not get any work done. This hasn’t been an issue for me. I’ve made it a point to stay disciplined in this area because I believe it is important to keep the family life separated from the work life, even though they share the same space now. I wake up every morning at 5am and have an espresso. I’ll either workout or study before work. I always shower, shave, and put on a collared shirt (and pants) before signing into work. I believe if I don’t have the mentality to take my work serious that it will show in my work performance.
A few things I would like to work on during the next year are really intended to make working at home more enjoyable. One of the benefits from working from home is having my own office (mine even has a window); something rarely seen in a cube farm office. This also allows me to have my own desk arrangements and I like using my custom standing desk. The lighting in my office could use a little update, usually I have enough natural light from the window that I don’t even turn on a light, but on cloudy days or late nights the lights in my office are a little too yellow for me. I also plan to make some adjustments to sound absorption, while I haven’t had an issue with this yet there is plenty of opportunity for isolating household noise from my office. I’ll probably add some sound absorbing panels outside the office in the hall and a sound stop to the bottom of my office door.
Overall I’ve been quite happy working from home, if you have the opportunity I would advise you to consider and weigh all the pros and cons to make sure that it is the right choice for you.