Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Working From Home

I'm not quite sure how I ended up in this job.

A long time ago, I was a student at ASU. Majoring in elementary education. Majoring in business. Majoring in communications. Majoring in ESL education. Majoring in Social Work.

In the mean time, I picked up a job at Progressive to help pay the bills while I finished my last year. I was preparing to marry the hottie. I interned. I graduated. For awhile after I graduated, I worked 2 jobs...one at an adoption agency (part-time) and one at Progressive. Then, the adoption agency did not need me any longer as a part-time worker. At the same time, I moved into another job within Progressive. I planned to return to adoptions.

That was over 10 years ago.

About 6 years ago, I became a corporate trainer. And, last year (while out on maternity leave) I became an instructional designer. My new role gives me such flexibility to work from home. However, I do typically work in the office on Wednesdays.

When I came back from maternity leave...it was a big adjustment. A new job. A new home office. I secretly planned to work in the office every day. Everyone laughed and said that soon I would realize how productive people are at home and how coming into the office actually makes working more difficult.

I laughed. No way. How could I get more work done at home? Aren't there so many distractions? Bed? Couch? TV? Radio?

Well, I've come full circle. I now agree. Although I do love coming into the office for the "social" aspect - working at home is so much more productive. I find that I work MORE at home.

That doesn't sound right, does it!!??

Well, I've found that I start my work day at the same time. I work until lunch. Instead of "socializing" a few minutes here and there with co-workers, my "socializing" consists of throwing in a load of laundry or making a bed. I make a quick lunch and shower - then work through the rest of my lunch. I text or email questions back and forth to my mentors and co-workers (because I am still lost on a lot of things!!) and I end my day picking up the kids from the sitters. I can actually work a little later because the sitter is literally one minute away and I don't have to fight any traffic to get there. Then, this is the part people don't realize - when you work from home...your computer stays on late into the night. I make dinner, feed the kids and eat, get the kids ready for bed, read stories, and say goodnight. Then...my second "shift" begins. I continue working.

I like it this way. Working from home means that most of the time I put in more hours...but, it also allows me to:

  • wake up later (I literally roll out of bed, brush my teeth, and turn on the computer).
  • take lunch on my own schedule (I can take it at 10 or 11 or 12 or 1) I've even been able to help out for a class party during my lunch because Brady's school is around the block!
  • work later (my commute is non-existent, so picking up the kids from the sitter is a 5 minute task).
  • work in my jammies and shower at lunch. (thank goodness I don't have video conferencing at home!) I recently picked up Wii Zumba and this has been a great lunch time activity.
  • take breaks and instead of chatting - throw in laundry.
  • save money on eating out at lunch (this should be easy at work, too...but - for me it's not!).
  • work outside on the back patio (I haven't done that yet...but, doesn't that sound wonderful!).
  • save on gas and car maintenance (I've gone from filling up every 5 days to about every 10-14 days). Hmmm...I think my van might be confused because I have replaced the brakes, timing belt, and power steering pump since beginning the WFH schedule. Weird!
  • be more productive (I am now a firm believer that if you are happy and comfortable - you will be more efficient and productive.) Did you know that I had a class in 8th grade that had that same philosophy and we had bean bags instead of desks? Efficiency and productivity didn't work the same with bean bags and 13 year olds.
What do I miss? I miss my co-workers. We've all worked together for so long they're like my family. I kind of feel like I miss out.

But...I feel happier, more organized, and more productive (and still a little confused on some software that I use).

I really feel lucky.

p.s...you know what's funny - so many jobs and companies are switching to WFH options. what a change from the past! It's smart, too.


April said...

YES...WFH is the BEST thing ever!!! Well for me it's a God send and Im so thankful. CO gas prices are still lower than the average(for now) but filling up once every 10 days is the best. So I agree with you 100%..thank you PRG for allowing this to happen. :)

Heidi said...

I love working from home. There have been other job opportunites that have come up but they do not allow the employees to tele communte and I turned them down. I save so much time and money working from home and I am a much happier and more productive employee. I love the flexibility! My employeer does require I work specific hours so that is kind of a drag- it lacks in that flexibility- but I see that changing soon. And I couldnt agree more- I get WAY more done at home then I ever did in an office!