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… All the Young Punks (New Boots and Contracts)

Free at last? You bet. Apologies to Dr. King. If your company isn’t taking advantage of the decentralized workforce model, then you are going to love it when you do. Otherwise, skip this post, because you are already working in the new Model Office.

I’m surprised at the backlash many have against remote work. By now, it’s an old issue to bring up. Clearly the staff at Yahoo weren’t living up to the potential that a remote office could offer, otherwise Marissa Meyer wouldn’t have made her ultimatum. What really struck me odd, was a company like Yahoo basically admitted that all its technological advancements just could beat face to face, mano a mano work places. To me that felt like they were admitting defeat.

The real issue? People don’t get trained to work from home. A new hire is given a chance to learn the ropes is indoctrinated in the workflow of the office and his position. The better companies have an HR staff focused on getting their employees up and running. So why is it assumed that a person that works from home is trained to automatically know how to plug themselves into the company? Forget about the technical, network issues and all the fuss you need to get through to have your VPN and security configured.

I promised myself that there wouldn’t be information on the site that would make a reader stop and think, “this is so obvious.” Blogging for traffic has fallen out of favor with content syndication now leveraging huge distribution with some of the top talent available in their rosters. How to compete? Give visitors better content.

3 Tips that can help you get the most of your home office routine.

  1. Your Office is YOUR Office
    The greatest pitfall about working from home is that it is your home. Once you have committed to making the home your office, you need to make sure you treat it like an office. Even more important make sure your family, friends, even your pets know that this is your office and when you walk into it you are there to work. Training isn’t just for yourself. If you work from home, your family will need to be trained to know that being home isn’t an excuse to goof off. It’s really tempting for family to assume if you are home, then you can do whatever you like or interrupt whenever they can as if you weren’t on the clock. Chances are you already have experience working from home, bringing stuff home to work late in the night. However, it’s different when set up an office.

    1. You work REAL office hours.
    2. You work in REAL work attire (some leeway is ok, after all not everyone enjoys a suit and tie).
    3. You use REAL company equipment. Buying your own equipment is asking for too much trouble to go in. Besides, any security officer at your company will have a heart attack if he knew you were on the corporate network on non corporate equipment.
    4. You use your REAL company mobile phone. Turn off the house phone ringer or make sure there isn’t a handset in your office during your work hours. It’s about distractions. You don’t want them.
  2. Use technology. All of it.
    If you miss a meeting or a call, it’s even more serious working from home. Reminders from others in the office is an advantage of working in the office. Working remotely, it’s all on you.

    1. There is more Microsoft Office than Outlook and Word. Learn how to use it. Share calendars, hold web meetings, set alerts on activities in SharePoint, configure a project plan or an automated report… there is so much to leverage out of the basic Office 365 products that you should never have a problem organizing or reminding yourself
    2. Mobile Apps and lots of them. The Mobile app market place is inundated with task managers, to do lists, planners, and more. Do some research and set up some mobile apps that give you an edge on staying on top of your deadlines or delivering you critical industry news.
    3. Invest in a tablet. A nice one. It will be worth it. Even if you don’t produce work on it, you can consume information on it. You can get reminders and visual cues from it. Use it to record voice memos, take photos, write notes. Yes you have a nice smartphone, but if you are talking on it, a tablet is a lot easier to set on your desk while your phone is on speaker mode or on blue tooth.
  3. Go to the Office. Huh?
    Working from home can be a career killer. Office politics are going to happen no matter if you like it or not. You need face time with your boss and colleagues. It’s incredibly important that they know you are still around. In corporate America, you have to make sure you are still considered a part of the team. A productive part of that team.