As I have mentioned in other posts, we moved to a different city a few years ago. Since then, I have been teleworking, or in other words, working from home for my employer. There are some perks, but there are also negative aspects.
My workplace has been most gracious in allowing me this opportunity to work from home and I really appreciate it. There were some initial bugs we had to work through since there are only a couple of people teleworking exclusively for our company. However, all systems have been a go for quite some time. Technology can be a wonderful thing!
I was on the phone with a coworker today and he asked me about working from home and how I like it. It is a common question I get from people. Here are some of the pros and cons I described to him and the others.
The Good Side of Teleworking
1. Teleworking is an introvert’s dream.
There are no coworkers dropping by to visit (gossip), no awkward social interactions, and it’s quiet. You have tasks to do and they can be completed with little human distraction.
2. My work attire consists of a t-shirt and sweatpants.
There is no reason to play dress up to impress anyone. Whatever is comfortable basically which is a huge plus in my book. Teleworking is very budget friendly.
3. No commuting costs.
Not having to drive to work saves time, gas money, and wear and tear on the vehicle. It has also been nice this winter not having to drive through snowstorms and icy streets. Mrs. DS on the other hand, has a reliable vehicle to get her through her commute. But at least we are mainly a 1 vehicle driving family.
4. The lunch hour has returned to an actual hour.
At our previous city, I would drive 15 minutes home, eat, and then drive 15 minutes back to work. Technically it was still an hour but the commute chewed up around half of that. Now I can get a nice workout in during the lunch break, at home!
5. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Coworkers seem to be generally more excited to see you again. My boss drives up at least once a quarter for lunch and routinely mentions that he misses having me around the office. He also misses some of the work I used to do as well.
The Bad Side of Teleworking
1. Teleworking can be a lonely proposition.
You really have to have the personality for it to do it 100 percent of the time. I told my coworker that teleworking wouldn’t be for him since he’s such an outgoing guy. I think it would drive somebody like him crazy. The last thing you want is to create work incompatibility.
2. There seems to be a certain stigma about people that work from home.
People assume you are watching TV, napping, sitting in your underwear, you name it. I’ve heard it all in good-natured ribbing. But after you hear it a few times, it gets old. In my experience, you can actually get more done due to less distractions from a bustling workplace and coworkers.
3. Inclusion is a challenge.
It is challenging to stay updated and included in a team environment while teleworking.
Since I don’t get to sit in on the quick meetings we used to have or just overhear the events of the day, it makes it tough to stay “in the know”.
4. Self-Discipline is a must.
Getting back to the above stigmas I mentioned, a person does have to be disciplined to telework. It is undeniably easier to sluff off so you have to be focused to get work done. The boss isn’t around to keep your social media viewing in check!
Teleworking Tips For Your Success
As I mentioned above, teleworking puts you on an island. And no, not one with a fruity drink in your hand. But in theory I guess you could drink one of those while working because nobody will see you!
You must find ways to stay connected to your supervisor and team if you work with a group.
My boss and I meet a couple of times every quarter. We touch base on the phone usually at least once a day. I talk to at least one of my teammates every day. I find it more helpful to stay in touch via phone rather than email when possible. And this is coming from a person who dislikes phone conversations usually. It is a must to stay current with things and also to stay relevant.
Also, you’ll want to keep track of your accomplishments and items you’ve completed. Just in case people in power forget how valuable you are or question any effort since they can’t see you on a daily basis. I haven’t experienced this yet but it is in the back of my mind. Plus this is simply good to do to rock your next performance review!
On a self care note, make sure to get out of your house and get some fresh air if you are teleworking 100% of the time. Even the hardcore introverts need a little socializing sometimes. Get together with some friends or just mix it up with society once in awhile. As enjoyable as the peace and quiet is, the solitude can affect you after awhile.
Teleworking is a growing trend for employment. According to these stats, 3.7 million employees work from at least half of the time. This has grown by 103% since 2005. More businesses are getting on board because it saves office space and it just plain saves them money.
It does take the right type of employee though to make it work. It is probably best to have someone who has a proven track record as a trusted and hard working employee. A person has to be able to not only complete the tasks at hand but also have the ability to look for more work. Otherwise the temptations to slack could become a problem.
For those who are more of a lone wolf like myself, teleworking is a great thing. Even though my work is largely the same and might not be the most interesting thing to me, I have enjoyed the experience. Extroverts however might not enjoy it 100% of the time. Everybody is different but hopefully some of these pros and cons will help you decide if working from home is a good choice.