For straight nine years, I used to commute at least one hour each way by car or by train to work. Now that I work as a consultant, I’m grateful for being alive after driving all those 40,000 miles a year under any road and/or personal circumstances. Not only snow or rain can become dangerous conditions during a daily commute but sleepiness, being “under the weather,” extreme personal stress and traffic complications can turn any commuter into a really miserable person.
Being at the office is a concept of the past, not only for Millennials –the generation that is changing for good the way “working relations work”- but also, for businesses as well as employees if they can negotiate certain aspects of the working relationship.
Today, many companies can decrease not only overhead expenses but also benefit from increased productivity, creativity and lower turnaround rates as long as they can intelligently offer their employees the option to work from home.
- Increased productivity: You will need the discipline to set up a regular working schedule, and show that no matter what, you are “connected.” Working from home means you might have to work while you are sick, on weekends or Holidays, long night hours or take fewer vacation times. Businesses that need constant feed of productive work –writers, social media managers, PR, long distance instructors and trainers, customer service, sales, fundraisers, telemarketers and the like– can highly benefit from these killer schedules or time zone differences.
- More room for creativity: Graphic designers, architects, journalists and other writers, PMs, translators, transcriptionists, and techies and app developers can greatly benefit from less distractions such as office meetings, the cubicle scene, phones ringing and the office gossip. Some of these jobs require that you “get in the zone” to be productive.
- Less interpersonal conflict: Distance can make a great buffer for management/employee conflict. A person’s short-comings can become annoying in the office where the contact is daily, while they can be an anecdote when there is a virtual relationship.
- A happy employee is a loyal employee: There are perks to working from home, of course, the 15-second commute and the flexible schedule being just a couple of them. Once the “working from home curve” is over –setting up a schedule that works for everybody, meetings, networking, travel or any other routine that needs set up–, it usually entices people to stay around and not jump from job to job.
Although it is true that not all occupations are suitable for telecommute, finding those tasks that are repetitive, need no interaction with someone else or you can ace on your own without supervision might be a way to re-establish a good weekly flow and allow you to negotiate one or two days a week to work from home. Think it through, make a plan and offer a “transitional period” to your boss. Also, be ready to compromise and prove yourself. Good luck!