Working from home

It’s been 3 weeks since I’ve moved to Charleston and everything is going great!  I’m basically unpacked (how is it that 1 box always seems to survive all unpacking attempts!) and just need to do some final decorating.  I’ve explored a bit, walked a lot, and instagrammed a lot of palm trees.  

Moving to a new place and starting fresh isn’t new to me.  

What is new:  working from home (or WFHing as we call it at my work).  Not just the random WFH snow day.  Or to avoid terrible Friday traffic.  I’m talking about working from home everyday - what Corporate America calls “the remote employee”.  

As you would expect, there are some great things about working from home and some not so great things about working from home.  Either way its shined some light on how Corporate America traditionally views productivity. 

FREEDOM OF LOCATION

I actually start each work day at a local french cafe.  It gets me out of my apartment at least once per day AND allows me to start out my morning was a gorgeous decaf almond latte.  I try to dig out of my never-ending inbox or prep for the day’s meetings.  I then head back to my quiet apartment before my meetings really start to pick up.  The other incredible bonus is that I WALK there!  No stressful traffic or morning rush hour to get me to an assigned patch of the cube farm.  I am still productive and in fact get to choose where I get my inspiration to be productive each day.

USING THE “OFF” BUTTON

I didn’t realize the pressure of always needing to be “on” while at work.  To emit a fresh, awake, positive outlook no matter what’s going on.  Everyone seems to want to hire someone who is positive and it’s listed in most company cultures.  But not everything about everyday is positive.  Some things are boring, irritating, and confusing.  Sometimes people are human and have other emotions besides positive.  So yes, I use my own personal “off” button.  And I have to say, I have a lot more energy at the end of the day and I think a lot of that has to be with not trying to force a certain energy level all day long. 

LET’S CHAT

When I’m at work I can be more type-A than the spiritual side of me ever wants to admit.  I mean, we all have a job to do so let’s just get our work done so we can go home.  I found most idle banter to be a waste of time.  Can we just start this conference call already?  Now that I work from home, I have to admit the chatter is a great part of the day.  I don’t have any cube neighbors to check in on or who check in on me.  And while I am now more appreciative of the chatter before conference calls, I know I need to do a better job of proactively reaching out.  

GETTING OUT OF MY CHAIR

While I start my morning off at the coffee shop, once I get back home my bum barely leaves my chair.  I’ve heard stories of people working from home who take their laptop into the bathroom with them so that the little status light on their IM always stays green.  There is a lot of pressure for remote employees to always be available and to fight the stereotype that no work actually happens at home.  But even when I was in an office I went to the bathroom (sans laptop), I went to meetings in conference rooms, I chatted with coworkers, and got pulled into unexpected meetings and that little light went to the dreaded yellow signal for being ‘away’.  Totally acceptable when in an office.  But I certainly feel the double standard now that I work from home.  Once I come home I stay in my chair.  I haven’t yet started a load of laundry during the day or done anything more than microwave a frozen meal.  The double standard feels very real.

Do any of you struggle with the rules of Corporate America?  Anyone work from home?  I would love to hear any tips and tricks!