Category Archives: General

The Unexpected Nomad

bag
The bag is packed

We have decided to sell our house and move to a bigger house on more land.  It’s a good move for us, and I’ll be gaining a really nice office on the main level (with its own private deck!).  But like many of you, we can’t own two houses, so we have to sell our existing home.

This means vacating at a moments notice.  For the full-time remote worker, this is more disruptive than an office worker.  Yesterday, we had a showing at the same time as a conference call that I was leading.  Of course…

So, I packed up my laptop and found a quiet place with wi-fi (at my church, of all places) and was a nomad for the afternoon.  What will today bring?  Who knows, but I am ready to do it again today, and tomorrow, and….well let’s just hope this is short-lived because I prefer to work in the same place all day, every day.

Teleworker or Telecommuter? Terms for Today’s Workforce

Here’s a good list of definitions for telecommuting and remote working. For the record, I am a Remote Worker by this definition as there is no office for me to go to.

thevirtualleader

video conference

There are many terms used to describe workers nowadays. ‘Telecommuters’ made their way into the virtual office as early as the mid-1970s. ‘Teleworkers’ followed just over a decade later. Now we have ‘remote’ employees and ‘distributed’ teams. Is there a difference? (Admittedly, I tend to use some of these terms interchangeably.) More importantly, does it really matter? For some organizations, especially large organizations, it can be important to define how employees work if there are different requirements, policies, provisions, or benefits for these different types of work arrangements. From research and speaking with a number of organizations, here are the most commonly used terms and their definitions:

Flextime/Flexwork: Working a full or part-time schedule, but adjusting start and end times to accommodate personal needs or commitments which allow employees more choices in managing their work schedule.

Telework: Working a full or part-time schedule from a location other than an employer’s…

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Telecommuting Reduces Stress and Increases Productivity

Telecommuting is more productive and less stressful for me. What about for you? Are you more productive at home? Is it more or less stressful for you?

BusinessLeadershipManagement (BLM)

Breakfast on the Computer
© Photographer: Ryan Stevenson | Agency: Dreamstime.com

As businesses approach Telework Week 2014, employers and employees will make commitments to increase telecommuting and productivity, while decreasing commute times and stress. A survey of U.S.-based customers and knowledge workers  found that telecommuting employees see improvements in stress level (82 percent), morale (80 percent), productivity (70 percent) and absenteeism (69 percent).

The survey showed that telecommuting is widespread among businesses with knowledge workers:

  • 80% of respondents report that their office allows telecommuting.
  • 71% participate in the telecommuting program.
  • 50% telecommute one day per week.
  • 22% telecommute five or more days per week.

Technology powers telework, with 91 percent of telecommuting respondents using a company-issued laptop. Other popular technologies issued by employers are:

  • 76% VPN access to company data.
  • 75% web conferencing tools.
  • 62% cellphone or smartphone.

“The findings confirm what we at PGi have always known to be true: Telecommuting provides important…

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70%ers Unite!

Here is a cool info graphic from Staff.com about working from home.  I am definitely in the majority in terms of eating healthier and being less stressed out.  But I’d like to explore the statistic that 70% of workers want to work at home (81% if under 45).  Does this surprise you?

I can’t help but wonder if there is a lot of “the grass is always greener” going on here?  Do these people believe they could and should work from home?  What would that statistic be after you dispelled a lot of the myths out there about working from home.  It’s not all pajamas on the coach while watching TV while you pretend to work.

There is no question, I prefer to work from home, and I’ve gotten very good at it over the last 20 years.  But, this gig isn’t for everyone or every job!  In fact, I’d say that 70% of the jobs out there aren’t suitable for work at home arrangements.  What would interest me the most is what percentage of workers in jobs that could be done remotely are actually working remotely.  Any great stats folks out there to figure out how to measure that one?

Enjoy the graphic and sound off!
Working From Home -- Is It The Future? by Staff.com
Staff.com – Connecting Great Companies with Global Talent

Maybe snow days aren’t so bad for this teleworker

In a previous post, I’d said that Snow Days were bad for me because it disrupts the routine ( Snow Days Post ).  After 2 more snow days and a holiday, I still have that opinion, but I have to moderate it some.

What was different was that we got a lot of snow (by Virginia standards, 14 inches in one storm is a lot), and it has stuck around a long time.  As a result, we could really do some good sledding and have lots of fun in the snow.  Instead of everyone sitting around bored with no significant snow to play in (typical snow day here), we could actually do something fun.

So, yes, my routine has been thrown out the window these past few days, but I can console myself in the fact that I had so much fun sledding with my family.

Feb 2014
Feb 2014

How did you get here?

As a full-time, work from home employee, I am often asked  “how did you get here?”  We all have a journey, and for some it is a hard one, and for others, somewhat easy.  In my case, maybe it’s a little boring.  No big epiphany moments, or crash and burn stories.

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My journey begins after college with my first real job as  a field based salesperson.  I carved an office out of the dining area in my apartment that I shared with my brother and two others.  My desk was a piece of wood laid across some milk crates (real ones, not the ones you buy in Target).   I had dial-up email on a borrowed computer, a landline, and no cell phone.  I was young and excited!

As I grew in my career, my roles changed, but I was still in a travel-based, work from home (when home) situation.  The travel grew as well, and soon my personal life was being stretched.  At 13 years in, the rubber band finally broke, and I left for a desk job, in an office.  It was a nice change for me and my family, and it was the right choice.  After a while I was able to work a day here and there from home.  Eventually, the recession had hit, and my future at this company was looking bleaker every day.  So, I took an opportunity to return to my previous employer and get back into the work from home model.

This time around I was a remote employee with little to no travel and a desk job.  I would be working everyday in my basement with only a cell phone or SKYPE for contact with the outside world.  I thought I might really struggle with this, but as it turns out, it has been great.  I’ve been on this leg of my journey for 5 years now.  There are some downsides, but  more often than not, its been wonderful.

What has your journey to working from home been like?  Did you one day decide you’d had enough with the commute and office politics?  Did you find yourself in need of work, and tried a work from home job?  Were you a Mom who wanted to spend more time with her kids?  Tell us your story, how did you get here?

Snow Day(s): the bane of this teleworker!

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The view from my home office

The kids (and my teacher wife) have been out of school for most of this week because of the snow and sub-freezing temps.  Even the Federal Government had a snow day and liberal leave this week.  But, alas, one of the non-perks of working from home is that I can’t really call out from work and use the snow as an excuse.  After all, my commute doesn’t even require me to step outside.

To compound the problem, my routine is now all messed up.  Why?  Because I usually have the place to myself for most of the day.

For those who longingly look at teleworkers and think it is totally awesome, just know it certainly isn’t perfect.  (Close to it though!)

There and Back, Daily

Do you face opposition to working from home at your organization? What suggestions do you have to overcome these objections?

Punch the Ticket

Like many, I wake up in the morning and drive to work and back again when the day of work is done. Unlike many, there is very little reason to have me in the office more than one, at most two days a week. My job is all on the web. I’m not a manager or director. I don’t supervise people. None of that stuff that means I need to be around people. Even my cubical neighbors instant message with each other instead of speaking. I don’t have a ton of meetings, and when I do I could easily fit them into a single day.

I also know that I can do this exact position with these coworkers from home because I have done it before. Now, I don’t mind commuting. But I do have a real problem with commuting for the sake of tradition or because upper management likes…

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