So I’ve been working from home for over five years. Prior to my current gig I had a cubicle in an office building that I would visit every week or two; since taking my current job in 2015 I have been an official “virtual employee” at a Fortune 500 company.
I enjoy the gig.
Remote employees are quite commonplace here in the new Roaring 20s, especially with all the telecommuting technology at our disposal. Most of my team works remotely. I have employees reporting to me that I’ve never met in person, though I see them on an almost daily basis via videoconference. I like my team.
People have visions of remote employees kicked back in a pair of sweats and a t-shirt, propped up on a couch, working on a laptop. For me that’d be a great way to lose focus and start slacking at my job. One of the things I never want to be is a slacker. There’s too much to do, too much change to make in the world, too much example to set. I have a routine that involves working out, eating breakfast, and getting cleaned up in appropriate work attire, even though I’m working out of an office here in our condo. I stay focused because I look the part of a corporate executive. I dress for success.
A few months into working from home full-time I realized I had a need to get out and about when I wasn’t working. Being at home all the time seems awesome, and in many respects it is, but there are times when I want to be outside, seeing other people In Real Life, and interacting with other humans. Occasionally I’ll jump on the ‘L’ just to walk around another neighborhood or The Loop or whatever just to get a change of scenery. It helps keep me sane. I also go for a walk in the morning and a walk in the afternoon, short walks mind you, and that helps me process whatever opportunity I’m processing in my head at the moment. Plus it gives me a chance to see something other than the grayish-green walls of my office.
I love working from home but I firmly believe it’s not meant for everyone. It takes extra discipline, extra focus, and extra effort to stay productive and be a prime contributor to the goals of your employment.