I will never forget what it felt like the day that I was laid off. All of a sudden I had been thrown into this uncertainty and I wasn't sure what was going to happen next.
I had been in the office environment for so long that the thought of staying in my house all day was terrifying.
As I started to look for another job. I realized that I didn't want to go sit in another office somewhere. I didn't want the commute. I didn't want any of it. I started to consider becoming a remote worker.
At first I looked into companies that hired employees to work from home, but then I started to think about potentially working for myself. I certainly had a skill that was something I could turn into a freelancing career.
I decided I would give it a try. I mean the worst that could happen is I would just apply for a job and go back to work if working from home didn't have the same appeal anymore.
Work from Anywhere
They're bunch of benefits to working from home. First, you can work from anywhere. You are not confined to a specific office space. I can't tell you how freeing it is to feel like I can go and work out of my home office, or I can go work out of my kitchen, or I can work anywhere in my home, or I can go to the library. I can go to Starbucks. There are so many different things I can do.
For years, I had this bad back pain where I could feel all the muscles tighten up from sitting at a computer all day. There are health benefits because the second I was moving around all day, and because I was switching where I was working, I was switching positions, I found that I felt better. I still believe that I feel better than my office counterparts because I'm up and moving all the time.
Next you really do save money working from home. Working from home means that there's no more daily commute. Rather than spending my time commuting where I'm paying for gas maintenance on my car oil changes, all that fun stuff, instead I'm staying home.
Because I'm home I buy all of my caffeine in bulk. All of my tea comes in bulk. It's actually better quality than what I was getting at Starbucks or at Dunkin Donuts or out of the office.
Anyway, I'm not going out to eat for lunch because I'm able to prepare a healthy nutritious lunch at home. I've also found that because I am home, all that time that normally I would have spent taking a break at work, or saying hi to co-workers, or chatting with someone now that time is spent truly working. I'm bringing more in in that sense.
Another great benefit is that the schedule is more flexible. There's definitely a better work-life balance when you work from home. I have set work hours and I make sure I stick to them. I'm not going to lie and say that my daughter is home with me because she does go to daycare full time.
I have very specific work hours for when my daughter is at school. While she's at school, I am working my butt off at home . When she gets out of school, then it's time for me to be home with her. But because I'm not commuting and because I am working from home and I have those set hours, I've started to implement the discipline to have that work-life balance.
If she's not home, it's work time. If she is at home, then it's not and that's family time. Now that this is my full-time job, it's a lot easier for me to shut it off at the end of the day because it's something I can get used to.
Learning New Skills
Another benefit of working from home is that I'm always learning new skills. I don't have to worry about bothering a co-worker with a podcast or wondering what's going to happen if I play a video. Because no one's going to judge me for watching a video or tutorial for how to do a new skill. I'm always improving and I'm increasing my value in the talent pool.
More Effective Meetings
Another benefit is that you have more effective meetings. I know a lot of the times when I was working in corporate I would have a meeting. I worked in a large building and the meeting always on the opposite end of the building.
I would have to plan that it would take me and this is not an exaggeration, it would take me about 10 minutes because the building was so long. Then it would take 10 minutes back. That doesn't sound like a lot but that was 20 minutes out of my day for every meeting that was down there and they were never back-to-back.
I ended up losing a lot of time just walking to the meetings. And then once you get there, everyone settles in and says, oh hey, how are you doing? How's everything? I don't find that when it comes to online meetings. When it comes to using technology to talk to someone on a video conference or on a phone call, they tend to be a lot more efficient.
Because there is a defined set end time and quite possibly the meetings being recorded, everybody works so much more efficiently.
The meetings come so effective that by the time I end my meetings, it's a quick email to whoever was there saying this is what we discussed.
I'm also able to type up my notes while I'm on the meeting. It definitely doesn't come across as rude as it does if you're in an in-person meeting and nobody else is typing.
Along those lines, another benefit of working from home is that you're more intentional about your communication. With instant messaging , you're always aware that you're not face-to-face.
You have to get better with communication. You have to think "who needs to know what from me today? Am I holding anybody up? " They can't walk two cubes over and say "did you remember to send me this." So puts you on your guard and makes you more intentional about that communication.
You are aware that it's not simple for someone to get in touch with you. It works the other way as well. If you need something from someone, you're not going to say "I'll see them later. We've got a meeting together. I'll just bring it up that I'm sure I'll bump into them on my way to the copier." You do become a lot more intentional. You learn to stay focused.
Staying focused increases your productivity. Since I've started working from home, I've noticed an increase in productivity. A huge part of this is having my own home office because I'm not tempted by the chores in the rest of the house.
I didn't always have a home office. I was working out of my kitchen and it was hard because I would see the dishes in the sink and I'd feel compelled to put them in the dishwasher. I would see a full hamper and I would feel compelled to run a load of laundry.
If I saw a mess in my living room or toys that weren't put away properly in the toy room, I would go and fix it. I spent a lot of my first few weeks like that working from home. At this point, I've learned that I have to stay focused. Part of that is having my own place a my own space that I can control.
I keep my office clean. I keep it neat and organized and I shut the door and that allows me to work uninterrupted. And my productivity has exploded. I get twice as much done working from home that I used to get done when I worked outside of my home.
No More Office Politics
One of the really cool things about remote work is that there's no more office politics. I can't tell you how happy it makes me when I don't have to tiptoe around the office politics. Instead, it's me. It's my business!
Sure. I have to deal with clients, but I also have the right to say yes or no to a client. I don't work with people who are not a good fit for me. That's why I do discovery calls. I make sure that I'm working with people I feel comfortable working with.
Easier to Make Calls
Finally, my favorite benefit of working from home is not having to worry about all these co-workers being around. I used to work in Cube Land. I can't even tell you how difficult it was to make a phone call. I would be calling a client, I'd be on the phone with them and I'd be answering questions. I'd be trying to find resources for them to figure out exactly what was going on and my coworker over the cube wall would be on the phone with someone else.
He'd be doing the exact same thing I was doing but I can't tell you how frustrating it is when you get that interference because now your brain is being pulled in two directions on the conversation you're having and the conversation that your coworker is having.
So for me, it's so easy now to just pop on a video. I don't have to find it empty conference room. I don't have to do any of that. All I have to do is go into my office, which I'm working out of any way, flip on the call and I'm all set.
To Wrap It Up
To wrap it up working from home means you can work from anywhere, you save money, your schedule is more flexible, you get to learn new skills, your meetings become more effective and you become more intentional about communication. It's easier to stay focused. There's no more office politics and it's a lot easier to make calls.
Do you want to learn more work from home benefits? Come check out the Tech Moms free Facebook group to hang out with other work from home mamas!