With advances in technology, unexpected life events and office space costs, more and more companies are offering employees the option to work from home. Are you considering packing up your case files and setting up in your home office? Are you an employer who is struggling to decide whether or not to let your team members work from home? As someone who is currently working from home, I would like to share some pros and cons to help you think through the possible transition.
COMMUTE CONVENIENCE- Many of us don’t live where we work. The morning and evening commute can feel like a full day’s work itself. When I was driving into the office, it would take me almost an hour to get to work. I am also a parent, which meant my mornings started at 5:00am in order to get myself and the kids up and out and make it to the office by 7:30am. Working from home helps me to better manage my “morning mayhem.” I am never late for work because my work day starts at 7:30am on the dot with the opening of my first work email on my phone as I’m setting up my laptop.
THE JOYS OF TECHNOLOGY- I would not be able to do my job if it weren’t for the available technology and the hard work of our IT department to make sure our company’s data systems work effectively, efficiently and safely. I am able to access all my work files from my laptop. It has made collaborating with my team so much easier and I am able to stay on top of my work projects with ease. Cyber security is a rising concern for companies and it’s important to have systems in place that ensure data and files are able to be shared securely. I have access to my work email on my laptop, iPad and mobile phone. I am always connected to my work and my team
COMMUNICATION- Communication is important. Many would say that you lose communication with team members when you work from home. . Nothing can compare to the face to face interaction of working with your team. There are options that help you continue to communicate effectively in order to get your work done. My department head and I have found a system that helps us both stay in touch and on top of my work assignments. We schedule weekly calls to discuss upcoming and ongoing projects. These weekly calls give us a chance to make sure I am staying on top of my projects and share ideas and thoughts about upcoming projects.
FIRM SUPPORT – Having a supportive work environment is key. Working from home has to be a mutual decision that is mutually beneficial to both the employee and employer. One of my biggest concerns when transitioning to working from home was feeling the need to constantly reassure my supervisor that I was staying on top of my work. I found myself sending frequent emails that really had no purpose other than to prove that I was working. However, the key in working from home is TRUST. Working from home is a great opportunity, but it requires a certain level of trust and commitment. I make sure that I keep a running list of all my work projects and update my supervisor on the progress of each.
I am able to have open discussions with my supervisor about ways to improve our current processes to make the transition easy for both of us. Some weeks we are not able to have our call because of work and life events, but it’s my responsibility to stay on top of my projects and let her know when things change. My work setting has changed, but my commitment to my job has not.
Working from home has allowed me to be more independent and take more initiative when it comes to my work. I consider it a privilege to have the opportunity and understand that it takes a great amount of commitment and focus. Work is not always a place you go, it’s what you do.