Your company is rather small, and management usually doesn’t approve of people working offsite. However, some significant changes in your life now make it necessary for you to work from home for 6-12 months.
You have been an excellent employee and you know they don’t want to lose you. Besides that, you love your job and are good at it. You carefully prepare your request and argument. Then you meet with your boss and explain the possibility and how you feel you can be as efficient and remain a critical part of the team despite working offsite.
Your boss (who is not nearly as technology savvy as you are) wasn’t fully convinced, but agreed to try it for three to six months. You already have a work laptop and cell phone so that part was fairly easy.
Co-worker support was mixed. Some colleagues were negative because they felt it would disrupt the team. Others were envious and thought you were being given special privileges (you are). And then there is that strange belief that if a person is at work, they are actually working (we all know how frequently that is untrue).
Career coaches suggest general guidelines for working from a home office. Some tips are:
•Establish and keep regular work hours and be sure your boss and all of your colleagues know what they are.
•Be absolutely certain you are available during those specified time periods. Don’t decide to make a dash to the grocery store or take a quick nap. Those are precisely the times that a work crisis will occur.
•You will need a private and quiet space for conference calls and video conferencing. Be sure you are appropriately dressed and that there are no disruptions like noisy children, barking dogs, or lawnmowers.
•The onus for keeping up with work communication and meeting schedules will fall to you. You will not be able to totally rely on others notifying you. They may simply forget, or they may be a bit passive-aggressive about letting you know meeting details. If you do hear about an impromptu meeting that you missed, you will be responsible for getting an update since you are the one who missed the meeting.
•it is also important that you keep your boss aware of your work progress. Ask her or him what is preferred–a daily end of the day update email or a weekly discussion or written report.
•Before you begin, determine how the arrangement will be evaluated. Will there be an interim face-to-face meeting for review or will you meet every month or once in six months. Again, the responsibility for making this happen will probably fall to you.
•If some things fall through the cracks due to faulty communIcation, you may end up being the scapegoat, and coworkers may try to lay the blame on the fact that you work offsite. It is important that you keep excellent notes and documentation for projects and assignments.
•Keep in mind that being out of sight usually does mean being “out of mind.” You may be left out of work-related events, especially fun gatherings and celebrations, and your work friendships may (probably will) change somewhat. If you do return to working onsite in the future, you may find that you are no longer an integral part of certain groups and may have to work at re-assimilation.
If you are disciplined, organized, and good with technology, working at home may be a wonderful experience. If any of these factors is lacking, however, the opportunity can turn into a career disaster. Be certain you evaluate the situation carefully before giving up your onsite presence.