More and more companies are embracing telecommuting. There are countless debates about whether or not it benefits the employer. Some rave that allowing work from home builds trust, keeps more new moms with the organization, eliminates pricey office space and takes away a location barrier from hiring.
Others argue that home distractions shift priorities and a relaxed atmosphere encourages cavalier attitudes which can translate into lower productivity. The lack of team synergy and “hallway meetings”, reduces natural collaboration which hinders performance and lack of “secure access” opens companies up to leaking sensitive data.
So should YOU want to work from home??
At first thought it sounds like a dream! Imagine lounging around in your PJ’s sipping a beverage of your choice all afternoon, working-in your errands between muted conference calls and Jerry Springer re-runs. Life is a paradise!
Jokes aside, there are many potential benefits, cutting out your commuting, and work wardrobe expenses, keeping an eye on the kids or being able to unite with your out-of-town sweetheart. In other words, that life-work balance – you always wanted.
In order to make the right decision you must establish your own priorities. If you are content with your current accomplishments, the benefits of telecommuting may outweigh the negatives…. This might be especially true, if your personal circumstances call for this arrangement.
However, If moving up the corporate ladder, expanding your skill set and bumping up your salary are important to you, this could be difficult when telecommuting… In other words, if you plan on kicking butt and taking names, it’s not going to happen from your couch.
Let’s be realistic, those who don’t telecommute in your organization will take advantage of your physical absence. While you may be slaving over a project after-hours, the sharks in your organization will be quick to point out how you weren’t available for quick brainstorming session (did they even try to reach you?). And when the project starts to head south who is a more convenient scapegoat than someone who isn’t immediately available to defend themselves?
Now like a soldier in combat, you are dodging bullets, constantly looking over your shoulder, and sleeping with your smart phone. You are stressed , paranoid, and vulnerable. You realize that your current predicament puts you at risk of being the first one to get layed off.
Before long you realize that you didn’t escape corporate games by getting out of the office, you just lost some of the key advantages and are now playing them blind. “Seeing” and “being seen” at the office, actually does wonders for our careers. When working from home you no longer bond with your mentors over lunch, learning new concepts from your colleagues, or meet with clients as often. You are enthusiastically pitching your idea via speakerphone oblivious to the room of annoyed faces on the other end of the line… Sitting at your home office, always wearing your PJ’s and old sweats… you are loosing your confidence. Man, you don’t even look like a winner! How can you fix this?
Learn to survive
While working from home isn’t recommended for career driven professionals. There are ways to fight off corporate sharks in your organization and minimize their obuse. It will take initiative and discipline.
- Replace conference calls with regular Skype meetings with all key players when ever possible.
- Send your boss consistent and frequent progress reports that highlight your accomplishments.
- When sending email make sure you CC everyone involved on your project.
- Read! Read! Read all corporate announcements and memos!
- (see #4) and try to show up in person for all major meetings, events participate in “meet and greet” with big clients and make the most out your visits.
- Be the originator and proponent of all internal online initiatives and forums, such as collaborative document authoring and project management tools.
- And of course reach out with your challenges to us on our Q & A page – we will give you a few ideas.
What do you think? Tell us about your telecommuting success and horror stories.