Friday, June 26, 2015

What is it like working from home: V. 2

Installment numero dos for discussing all things related to working from home. You can check out my first conversation on this top here if you'd like!

I get a lot of questions about what it is like to work from home, and even for me, who has been doing this now for 19 months, find surprising things I never would have thought about before. I want to share my experience and lessons learned so other people seeking a similar opportunity might have some insight!

Q: "How does it work with your manager? Do they monitor your activity all the time, or is there a lot of trust in you?"

A: I am sure I am monitored to a certain extend, and I will say this will vary on company. I loving working for a company that does trust their employees and really promotes the idea that is all about customer experience. That means, if I need to take a long lunch to see visiting friends, or go to a vet appointment, I typically can without having to take PTO because I can make sure I start work earlier, or later to ensure my customers are taken care of. I will say you have to be a great communicator to foster a good relationship with your manager for afar. I only see my manager on average twice a year, so being engaged online and over the phone is critical in creating a trusting, and respectful relationship.

Q: "Is it hard to cut yourself off and not work all the time?"

A: Yes. Yes. Yes and Yes. It is very hard. Granted this day in age most jobs can be done at home, from a laptop, in the evening or in the wee hours of the morning. So I firmly believe that worklife/balance is a choice and stopping at specific times each day takes planning and prioritizing no matter where you work. BUT. When your job is in your face every single day, and when your "office" is also where your closet is, and your personal items- it is really hard to be in there and not feel like you have to send a few emails or take care of something "real quick". With my job, if I had to go to an office I wouldn't have enough time in the day to get done what I need to, so being able to work whenever is really important for my role. I will say I would strongly recommend having your office in a completely separate place from where you do "life". I plan to ensure I have a true office when I move in the upcoming months. While a guest bedroom and storage place work, it works best if you are in a place that you can close the door and you don't have to go back into until the next morning.

Q: "What supplies did you have to buy to start working from home?"

A: Lucky for me, working for a "tech" firm- we don't use a lot of paper or printing. So I made sure to have notepads, pens, and really basic supplies. MOST important: a good desk and office chair. I am totally improvising with an old kitchen table from my studio apartment and a dining room chair which causes a lot of neck strain and back issues. Again- something I will upgrade when I move here shortly, but for now it does the job. But these are critical. Don't be cheap! You will be there 8+ hours a day and it should be functional and comfortable! Also...make it pretty. I have a Idaho print, shelves with matching storage boxes and a cute lamp. Simple things, but make me feel girly and pulled together every day.

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