Telecommuting (also known as telework, e-commuting, or working from home) became all the rage a little over ten years ago. According to a report from Global Workplace Analytics and FlexJobs, the number of telecommuting workers has increased 115% in a decade. I recently hopped on the work-from-home bandwagon and made the move to a telecommuting role. I, like many others, thought working from home would be all rainbows and butterflies- it’s not. While there are many bright spots to working from home, there are some unforeseen hurdles to overcome. Here are 5 things I learned my first month working from home.
1. You Need to Get Out of Bed
One of the first thoughts I had when I moved into a telecommuting role was, “Woohoo!! I can work in my pajamas! #winning” For the first few days, I did just that. I woke up, rolled over, grabbed my laptop and began to work. The problem was, my mind had not registered that it was time to work because I was physically still in lounging mode. Working in lounge-mode made me far less productive. I was lethargic and dragged through most of my day. When I made the conscious decision to get up in enough time to go through my normal morning routine and work from my home office, I found that I was far more productive than on the days I decided to work from my bed. I learned the hard way that without the added pressure to start work at a certain time, commute to the office, and maintain a professional appearance, that my self-discipline was not so easily maintained.
2. You Will Become a Super-Saver!
Let’s take a look at savings I’ve already accumulated working from home for a month:
Not having to commute to work everyday has helped my save some serious cash on gas. I also spend less on fast-food. I had a bad habit of rarely bringing my lunch to work which would cause me to run out to grab fast-food about 3 times a week. No more forgetting lunch for me! Not having to maintain a "professional" appearance allows me to save money I would have spent on business clothes and beauty products. Now if only I can stay off of Amazon, I might be able to use those savings for something more productive.
3. Pets Can't Talk Back
One of the major hurdles I’ve had to overcome is the lack of face time with coworkers. I am a social being and previously worked in an open-concept work environment. The move to at-home seclusion has been quite the transition. While I must admit being removed from the constant distraction of people walking in and out of the office is quite pleasant, there is no replacement for some healthy face-to-face conversation with humans. Technology has made this hurdle a little less difficult to overcome, but it has been a hurdle nonetheless.
4. I'm Making the World a Better Place
In a telecommuting role, I not only make the environment safer by emitting less fossil fuels into the atmosphere by eliminating my daily commute; I also keep my co-workers out of harm’s way by not bringing my germs to the office on a daily basis. I must say, in the height of this killer flu season, I’ve been quite thankful for my home-office environment.
5. Balance is the Key
By far, the most challenging aspect of my newly acquired telecommuting role has been establishing a work-life balance. Leaving my daily work at the office has always been a bit of a challenge. This challenge only became intensified when my work is my home. I guess you could say I'm a bit of a workaholic. I am not alone in this struggle. According to a report from Gallup, Americans who work remotely are doing so for longer periods of time.
I’ve had to learn that it is OK to put work down for the evening. Just because my work is down the hall versus down the highway does not mean that I am required to work long hours on a daily basis. I am not claiming to have mastered this concept, but admitting it is the first step, right?
My work-at-home journey is just beginning and I’m sure there are many more lessons to be learned along the way. Do you work in a telecommuting role? Share your experiences and career advice with us on Facebook!