Work Locations - You Can Work From Home

Many people have a goal of being able to work wherever they want.  This flexibility provides personal freedom to live and do as you choose.  If you want to live and work in Costa Rica, despite your home office being located in Chicago, you can.  That is the beauty of the modern work place: you have the power to design your own work style, including location.

Of course, this is an ideal state.  Not all jobs allow for this type of flexibility.  Jobs that require in-person meetings or client visits will not permit you to work remotely and still get your job done effectively.  For those of you that are working, primarily, in an office setting, this is definitely reasonable and worth pursuing if desired.

There are a few different work locations to be considered:

  1. The Office.  This serves as your hub or main location of work.  It can be the company’s headquarters or a branch.  Either way, this is where the majority of your colleagues work
  2. Satellite Office.  Not all companies have this.  A satellite office is an office in an alternate location from the main office that does not serve as a permanent “home” for any employees.  Rather, it is a location where employees can come work as they need or want
  3. Coffee Shop.  Yes, however cliche, many people take advantage of coffee shops as their office.  The change of scenery can be advantageous to generating new ideas or getting work done without the distractions of colleagues
  4. Home Office.  The comfort of home may allow you to increase your productivity.  No colleagues to serve as distractions from your work.  But, be cautious of other distractions around the house, such as laundry or TV

If a company has a main office, why would they allow you to work anywhere else?  Providing employees with options to do as they please creates a stronger connection between the company and employee.  Employees want to be empowered to make their own decisions, even if that decision is just to work in one location over another.

The employees job, regardless of where they are working, is to produce at the level expected of them or higher.  The location should have no bearing on if you will get your job done more effectively or not.  Be cognizant of this when working from home.  There is a stigma, fair or not, of people who work from home all the time that they are not actually working.  Prove the doubters wrong by being incredibly productive no matter the location.

In order to ensure others do view you negatively as a result of working remotely frequently, here are a few tips:

  • Call people.  If you are able to get people on the phone and share your thoughts or ask a question, this will let others know that you are trying to solve business issues.  It will also further your relationships
  • Email.  Sending an email is an obvious way to inform others you are being productive.  Every time you send an email, it has your name and a timestamp attached to it.  Email serves as a way of clocking in and out.  I strongly suggest you call people rather than emailing though, as it reflects more positively and will improve your work performance
  • Get your work done.  Obviously.  Getting your work done while working remotely is the best and most sure-fire way to continue to be viewed as a high performer.  Working remotely is a great time to shut out distractions and focus on actual work.  Be sure when you are back in the office that you have time set up with your manager or a business partner to discuss the work you did.  You do not need to tell them you completed a project while working remotely, because the location does not matter.  Simply talk them through the project as you normally would

Lastly, working remotely is a benefit that largely assists the employee.  It provides flexibility to help you enhance your life.  But, it does not make a big difference to your colleagues if you are working remotely, so long as it is not impeding their ability to get their job done.  Take advantage of the benefit, if available, but be sure not to abuse it.

Thought Starters

  • How do you take advantage of your remote working policy?
  • If you do not have a remote working policy, how would you go about asking your manager for increased work place flexibility?