It has been about four months since I transitioned to being a remote employee, working from my home office in Northern California with the closest office about two and a half hours away. As a part of my company’s workplace transformation efforts, our CEO would like to see 50% of his workforce remote by 2020. Why? Because according to our workplace website:
Flexibility is a key aspect of Dell’s business strategy that enables us to compete for the best talent…As part of our People Strategy, Dell flexible work options encourages employees to find new ways to work, and focuses on driving business results rather than looking at where work is done.
For me, being able to contribute as a remote employee is empowering. When life changes came my way, in this case moving out of Silicon Valley for a more affordable life, my company supported me through the ability to work from my new home. Our Chief HR Officer recently wrote an article for Forbes about “How A Flexible Work Culture Works for Everyone.” Within this article, he says “Flexible work is the new norm in the workplace, and it’s not going away anytime soon. By providing your teams with flexible work options that encourage collaboration, optimize productivity and allow them to follow their preferred work style, your organization will boost its competitive edge.” However, the question still remains: If companies are adopting these programs, why is this so taboo?
Allow me to be real for a moment. If I had a dollar for every person I’ve encountered that believed working from home is “hardly working”, boring, or lonely, I might have myself a good side hustle. My inspiration for this blog came from these conversations, and I thought it might be interesting to address some FAQs that I’ve received from my friends on social media to see what I can demystify about my own experience working from home.
Q: Since you don’t work in an office what do you do to make your space your own? I love this question! Before we moved, I knew that finding a space with an extra room would be a priority. Since then, I’ve been transforming our second room into my own ideal work space. It’s equipped with natural light, a standing desk, and my personal touches of inspiration. Here are a few photos of my office!
Q: Do you find it hard to stay productive while you’re at home? This question makes me chuckle. I think this question was asked so many times because one of the most stereotypical views of employees that work form home is that they do not do their work and lie around watching TV in their PJs. As you can imagine, this is neither professional nor ideal for someone that works from home. We’re busy. We have important jobs and projects to be completed. For me, being in corporate communications, I am always on the phone or chatting back and forth with co-workers. Like everyone (even those in an office), we all have our days where we don’t get enough sleep the night before, have back to back meetings for hours, hit a lull, or moment of inspiration that increases or decreases our productivity. While I do not need to throw on a dress and heels every day, I can promise you that I am still just as productive as the next person!
Q: Do you change the scenery from time to time and go somewhere else to work? Honestly, for the most part I stay in my office when I’m working. However, if I wanted to I could. I actually find that sometimes coffee shops are even more loud and distracting than your average office space would be.
Q: What is the work life balance like? Do you stop paying attention to emails at a certain time? Living and working in the same space makes being strict with your work-life balance very important. In my field, supporting an executive means there’s a possibility of a fire drill (a project popping up quickly) at any time. Here are a few ways that I personally take a healthy approach to living and working in the same place:
- Take breaks: I like to go for a walk or out to lunch if my schedule allows.
- Shut down on the weekend: I do not like to spend additional hours working on emails or projects on Saturday/Sunday.
- Go to the gym: Once I’m done for the day, I’ll drive to the gym or run errands.
- No emails on phone: Some of you may be surprised to hear this, but I don’t have my work email on my phone (GASP!) Because I am by my computer 24/5 there’s no need for it to be included on my personal device.
Q: What is your average day like? The average day fluctuates depending on how many meetings I have, who they’re with, when they begin, and what kind of deadlines I’m working with. From previous blog posts you’ve learned that I like to be aware of the sacrifices that others are making to meet with me – if they’re staying late or starting early, depending on their time zone. In response to the actual work, I find myself working on many projects at once – sometimes up to 20+ different actions a week.
Overall, as you can imagine, I do enjoy the perks that working from home allows for – a zero minute commute, my own tea/coffee, the ability to adjust the temperature, and so on. I will also say that I am not naive, and I know this type of set up will not work for every profession, but I am truly lucky it works for my own!
Thanks for taking a peek into my life as a full time remote employee. Let’s continue this conversation – feel free to comment below or message me separately!