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apamburn
12-03-2019, 08:24 AM
I recently transitioned to a full time work from home position within my company. This is made possible by career path (I'm a software engineer) and facilitated moving to a new state. I don't have hard and fast hours I have to be online, no limitations / expectations on break / lunch hours or times. I'm very much left to my own devices and I just have to "get the job done". (Before you go thinking that is all sugar and rainbows, I do end up working really weird hours sometimes supporting customers around the globe. One of my roles is to be the main point of contact for customers with severe problems, sort of running cover for the rest of the development team as much as I can).

So far I've discovered some very nice things about working from home full time. I enjoyed being able to decorate a home office that I use daily. I hold family relics in high regard as links to the people that came before and my home office has been an opportunity to surround myself with them: my grandfather's clock on the wall next to me, the pamphlet from his funeral and his Blue Jacket's Manual from when he went through Navy Basic Training in the 1950s behind me; his Bible and other grandfather's pilot's knife on the table in front of me; etc...

I also enjoy not having any commute and being around during the day for deliveries, assistance around the house should it be needed, and for when the kids get home from school. Being home with the wife during the day has other...perks.

But I've found there are some trade offs. It's easy to get started early and find myself still working 12 hours later. Some weeks I don't hardly ever leave my home. And it's always tempting, when I get an email from a colleague in the APAC region (Asia / Pacific) in the afternoon / evening to be tempted to just run over to my office to respond. Clearly there are more distractions.

It would also be easy to let hygiene and discipline go by the way side and just roll out of bed half naked and make my way to my desk to work. So far I've avoided that and I think so far the positive outweighs the negatives.

If you worked from home how would that affect your lifestyle? How do you think you would maximize your time? What would you do with your time at home? Do you think you would accomplish more or less? And what would you try to do with whatever time is gained without commute and, in my case, with significant schedule flexibility?

Mr. Anthony
12-03-2019, 08:43 AM
I run a big chunk of my business from home, and it takes discipline and creating routines to keep yourself from A) slacking, or B) working yourself into the ground at all hours.

Using task boards like Asana or Trello can be really helpful. I create separate boards for things like work prospecting, marketing, website tweaks, etc, as well as personal boards with urgent and non-urgent tasks, reminders, etc. This helps keep me from getting distracted when I don't need to be--it's easy to have an email come in, and then respond to that, and then end up down a rabbit hole of tasks unrelated to what you were already doing. With good boards/lists/tasks laid out, it's much easier to schedule time effectively.

I can do something like "I'll work my way through the Urgent Social Media list until 10 am, then walk the dog, then switch to the Email Prospect list until noon" or whatever, and stay on-task easier than just having a big hodgepodge list of things "to-do." It helps me ignore things that aren't urgent, and to not get sidetracked by minor tasks until I'm ready to decide time to them.

Mr. Anthony
12-03-2019, 08:46 AM
Oh, and I also schedule workouts, etc the same way I would schedule a meeting.

"Is X time available?"

"Ah, no. I already have a meeting then. Would Y work for you?"

The meeting is with a barbell, but they don't need to know that.

Johnny C!
12-03-2019, 09:11 AM
I worked from home several years ago
when I did a lot of contract design and
engineering work (mechanical), for a
few different customers.

My biggest issues were the lack of almost
instantaneous input from other people
involved in the project, and maybe to a
larger degree, personal interaction with
managers & co-workers.

I am a people person, and I could not
function as efficiently as I should have
been, while isolated in my own home.

I know 2 people that comes to mind who
did work from home with similar conditions
that you have described, but thinking back
about that now, those two were somewhat
introverted. Very talented & effective at what
do/did, but not as outgoing as most or me,
but they used their personality "issues" as
an asset by isolation themselves so that they
could work more efficiently. My asset was
my outgoing personality, and I used it to
build relationships with co-workers &
managers to get my jobs done.


I am not saying you are introverted,
because it sounds like you are making
it work, especially with the world wide
interaction/hours, etc. I am just saying
the lack of personal interaction was my
biggest issue.

But the perks you mention are fantastic
being that my wife & I both are semi-retired. :-)

Great discussion.

John

Greg Nichols
12-03-2019, 09:19 AM
Oh, and I also schedule workouts, etc the same way I would schedule a meeting.

"Is X time available?"

"Ah, no. I already have a meeting then. Would Y work for you?"

The meeting is with a barbell, but they don't need to know that.

I tell them it's when I'm in church.

apamburn
12-03-2019, 10:41 AM
I worked from home several years ago
when I did a lot of contract design and
engineering work (mechanical), for a
few different customers.

My biggest issues were the lack of almost
instantaneous input from other people
involved in the project, and maybe to a
larger degree, personal interaction with
managers & co-workers.

I am a people person, and I could not
function as efficiently as I should have
been, while isolated in my own home.

I know 2 people that comes to mind who
did work from home with similar conditions
that you have described, but thinking back
about that now, those two were somewhat
introverted. Very talented & effective at what
do/did, but not as outgoing as most or me,
but they used their personality "issues" as
an asset by isolation themselves so that they
could work more efficiently. My asset was
my outgoing personality, and I used it to
build relationships with co-workers &
managers to get my jobs done.


I am not saying you are introverted,
because it sounds like you are making
it work, especially with the world wide
interaction/hours, etc. I am just saying
the lack of personal interaction was my
biggest issue.

But the perks you mention are fantastic
being that my wife & I both are semi-retired. :-)

Great discussion.

John


I also have difficulty with this as I am definitely also a "people person". No introvert here.

A lot of that difficulty is mitigated by workplace technology we use that allow for instantaneous video and voice calls, screen sharing and collaboration, as well as chat applications that facilitate communication.

Still it's not the same as being able to walk over to someone's desk to talk and all of the social non-work interaction that occurs at work (social visits at the desk, chatter about your weekend, discussions about whatever in the break room) go to 0. That has definitely been a difficult change.

apamburn
12-03-2019, 10:41 AM
I tell them it's when I'm in church.

This is something I'd like to do once I get a home gym worked out.

If I had more land I'd take breaks to go shoot in the back yard too. Maybe the next home.

IANative
12-03-2019, 01:55 PM
But I've found there are some trade offs. It's easy to get started early and find myself still working 12 hours later. Some weeks I don't hardly ever leave my home. And it's always tempting, when I get an email from a colleague in the APAC region (Asia / Pacific) in the afternoon / evening to be tempted to just run over to my office to respond. Clearly there are more distractions.

It would also be easy to let hygiene and discipline go by the way side and just roll out of bed half naked and make my way to my desk to work. So far I've avoided that and I think so far the positive outweighs the negatives.


This is my experience. ^^^

I work longer days, and am more productive. I'm far more focused, and far less distracted. Of course, my wife has a daily commute and we're empty nesters, which makes it easier. Yes, I roll out of bed and into my sweats to start the day. However, I also have a home gym, and make sure that a workout, dry-fire and shower are part of each day- almost always before noon- and the remainder of the day is spent in urban casual attire.

Allen
12-03-2019, 01:56 PM
5 years of remote & flex in person for me in April. Get a good desk, preferably have your company pay for it. Make sure you document your home office setup costs so you can deduct everything you're eligible for on your taxes. Segregate your work and personal lives digitally - assume that if it's company issued there's some nanny ware on it, if you own the business it can be seized or subpoenaed during a lawsuit. Run a KVM switch or just a separate setup if you need access to both at the same time.

Schedule everything. I'm a huge fan of calendly or mixmax even for internal scheduling, if the counterpart(s) to the meeting cant keep the same weekly appointment. Everything has a time slot during the day. Use your saved commute time for the gym, healthier cooking, and learning so you're ahead of your industry.

Everything either gets documented in a bullet point email or goes into a task manager like asana, even if you just had a meeting about it. Go over process every 3-6 weeks with your team & management to make sure they're happy.

If you don't have the space to have a proper home office - doors etc- set and most importantly enforce ground rules with everyone at home. Do this even with an office. Old GF's Father is a tech sales guy & does 7AM - 6PM. If his door was open you could ask a question, if it was closed and you disturbed him (and weren't the dogs) the house better have been on fire.

And make sure you're actually muted on the 100 person monthly conference call before you see what you can get away with.

OB-1
12-03-2019, 05:11 PM
I've been working from home for the past 13+ years. I have an office in the house and keep standard office hours most of the time. IMHO one must have decent self discipline to be successful at working from home. I usually travel one week a month to teach a class. This gives me all the "professional" personal contact I care to have.

Johnny C!
12-03-2019, 06:21 PM
Ha!

Our sales guy was with a customer and the
engineering team & management were in a
conference room discussing whatever the
issue was via a conference phone. We muted
our side (and verbally tested it) for offline
discussion. Our guy with the customer assumed
they were muted too, and sort of threw us under
the bus. My manager at the time, and a good
friend of mine, about had an MI. Too funny!

John

Edit to add:
This happened at customer where I was on
contract for almost 10 years continuously.




And make sure you're actually muted on the 100 person monthly conference call before you see what you can get away with.

jesselp
12-03-2019, 07:22 PM
I worked from a home office from 2010 to 2013 and loved it. I reluctantly decided that I needed a more professional place to meet with clients than the local Starbucks so I got an office outside of my home from 2013 - 2018. In 2018 I moved to a new community and to save money moved back into a home office.

This time I hated it. Somehow I didnít feel like a successful business person commuting to an office in my basement, the way I felt successful leaving my house each day to ďgo to work.Ē

Now I have somewhat of a hybrid model which works for me: I have a professional office outside of the house, but Iím also fully equipped to work from home if I want to (and have no meetings) and my clients will never know the difference. This works really well for me.

The most important thing for me when I had the regular home office was the ability too close the door, and have my family pretend I was not actually at home. The biggest personal benefits for me were significantly more time for the gym, and for responding with my volunteer agency. I do miss the time I used to have for each of those things!

apamburn
12-04-2019, 07:31 AM
5 years of remote & flex in person for me in April. Get a good desk, preferably have your company pay for it. Make sure you document your home office setup costs so you can deduct everything you're eligible for on your taxes. Segregate your work and personal lives digitally - assume that if it's company issued there's some nanny ware on it, if you own the business it can be seized or subpoenaed during a lawsuit. Run a KVM switch or just a separate setup if you need access to both at the same time.

Schedule everything. I'm a huge fan of calendly or mixmax even for internal scheduling, if the counterpart(s) to the meeting cant keep the same weekly appointment. Everything has a time slot during the day. Use your saved commute time for the gym, healthier cooking, and learning so you're ahead of your industry.

Everything either gets documented in a bullet point email or goes into a task manager like asana, even if you just had a meeting about it. Go over process every 3-6 weeks with your team & management to make sure they're happy.

If you don't have the space to have a proper home office - doors etc- set and most importantly enforce ground rules with everyone at home. Do this even with an office. Old GF's Father is a tech sales guy & does 7AM - 6PM. If his door was open you could ask a question, if it was closed and you disturbed him (and weren't the dogs) the house better have been on fire.

And make sure you're actually muted on the 100 person monthly conference call before you see what you can get away with.

I purchased a large and comfortable desk / chair for the office, and have definitely documented, so I'm expecting to take advantage of that during the upcoming tax season.

My office unfortunately doesn't have doors, something I want to remedy. Problem is the doorway is pretty high, so I need to figure out a way to make French Doors work. That's a project for this winter / spring, I think.

Time management is always a concern, I suppose it can be harder at home. In software development, tasks are pretty tightly controlled using development lifecycle methodologies - certainly no making management a slave driver (though in some organizations that my be the case if improperly used). Point being, task tracking and focus is accomplished with those tools, though I have used other tools like the ones you mentioned in the past for other purposes.



The most important thing for me when I had the regular home office was the ability too close the door, and have my family pretend I was not actually at home. The biggest personal benefits for me were significantly more time for the gym, and for responding with my volunteer agency. I do miss the time I used to have for each of those things!

This is another struggle I've noticed. When I first started working from home there were multiple occasions where my wife would expect me to be able to stop and assist (around the house, with kids, etc...) whenever she needed. We had to have some talks about making sure to act like I'm not here unless she really needed me, or unless I really was available. Work from home does not mean I am *at* home.

We have adjusted though.

TomB7777
12-05-2019, 02:06 PM
I've been working from home for the past seven years. I like to get up at 5:30 in the morning and check my emails. Respond to any questions from Europe or Asia quickly then hit the local gym two miles from my house for morning cardio. Then during lunch time I go back to the gym five days a week to lift weights. Getting out of the house a couple of times a day to workout and be around others really helps my mood and sanity. Plus the view at the local gym during lunch time really perks me up as well! I also schedule my workouts on my Outlook calendar to avoid people scheduling calls during that time.