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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    1,304

    Default Working from home

    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?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    2,637
    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.
    ===========================
    Quantum materiae materietur marmota monax si marmota monax materiam possit materiari?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Colorado
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    2,637
    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.
    ===========================
    Quantum materiae materietur marmota monax si marmota monax materiam possit materiari?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Posts
    1,202
    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
    Last edited by Johnny C!; 12-03-2019 at 08:15 AM.
    "Play stupid games, win stupid prizes" Alan Temby
    "Give a man a mask and he will tell you the truth"- Oscar Wilde.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Posts
    9,973
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Anthony View Post
    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.
    Greg "Hyena" Nichols
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    1,304
    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny C! View Post
    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.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    1,304
    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Nichols View Post
    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.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Midwest
    Posts
    2,519
    Quote Originally Posted by apamburn View Post
    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.
    Waitin' for a squeeze...

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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    314
    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.
    GFT.

    Try to replace hardware with technique. Technique is free, lightweight, and cannot be lost.
    RGF- Greg Nichols-Milton, WI

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    1,385
    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.
    I believe it is my duty to protect the innocent, care for the weak, and leave the lazy to their own pathetic demise.

    “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.” —Aldous Huxley

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