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Confessions of a Virtual Employee

I’m not new to the virtual workplace but I’m new to working for my current company, virtually and I have a confession to make…

I’m WAY more productive at my home office than at our corporate office. Shocked? In disbelief? Think I’m not exactly being truthful? Well, then do let me explain and I’ll make you a believer!

When I’m working from my home office, I’m doing just that… working from a HOME OFFICE. I’m not in bed; I’m not watching TV… I’m at my desk just like a “real” employee. What I don’t have is: 

  • A commute (not that I have much of one normally, I live a staggering 3 miles from our corporate office).
  • Morning “hello’s” and sharing with my work friends (come on… we ALL do it).
  • The office gossip stopping by… even though you try to politely indicate that you don’t want to hear it (again, we ALL have one… maybe it’s you, ha!) they always outstay their welcome.
  • General distractions… the mail cart coming by, people dropping in to converse some more, etc…

Now, I’ll be totally honest here… I do miss the camaraderie that comes with working in an office setting. I work with some GREAT people whom I consider friends as much as colleagues and working at home has been an adjustment and a bit, well, lonely (shhhh don’t tell my husband). But all of the “what I don’t haves”, mentioned above, translates to one GIANT thing I do have:

UNINTERUPTED TIME TO WORK… and work I do!

I actually START working at 8am (or earlier… I mean, I’m up, so why not?)… How many of us can say we actually begin WORKING at 8am? You don’t have to tell me, but be honest with yourself.

My husband owns a software development company and he works out of our home as well. So needless to say, we don’t converse much… we’re both very busy. So no one is really “stopping by” nor do I have anyone to share my previous evenings activities with (he was there).

I don’t take hour (or longer… and you can’t say you’ve never stretched that hour out some) lunches… I eat while I work; I’m actually eating lunch while typing this blog… I’ve got skills!

Then there’s quitting time… I am RARELY done working. I, quite literally work until its bed time. And even then you’ll find me answering emails on my iPhone (there are others like me, who burn the midnight oil). The last email I sent, from my laptop, yesterday was at 8:02pm… it was an early night. I would say, I work on average, around 60 hours a week consistently and often times the number is closer to 80 (I’m a weekend worker as well… when I can be). Now, I worked over 40 hours a week while in the corporate office too… but time is lost with the above mentioned morning routine and then the drive home and settling in. Being at home gives me a good 2-3 extra hours that were otherwise “wasted”.

Now, some of you might be thinking that I must not have very good time management skills and I need to work this much to stay on top of things… that’s not true. I am exceptionally organized and great and managing my time and schedule (just ask my boss). I could ONLY work 40 hours a week and still exceed expectations… but 40 hours a week, to me, doesn’t equal greatness and I strive for that! I’ve got so many ideas and such great concepts that I want to spend my time crafting these projects and turning them into something exceptional… like a hobby. It’s just that my “hobby” equates to being successful at my job and my company being more successful in general… it’s a win/win really.

So what am I getting at? Well… it’s this… the next time you have an employee ask if they can work from home, perhaps you should consider it. While it’s not for everyone, for some it’s truly a “one up” for the organization while also helping that employee the achieve work/life balance they’re craving (if that’s their motivation). If the colleague has demonstrated the ability to be reliable and meet deadlines, virtually… then what’s the harm?

At Sterling, we have several positions that have the flexibility to work remotely. We see the value in promoting work/life balance and if that means being able to accommodate alternative schedules to colleagues that have proven to be dependable, then we do. 

What's your company's stance on "virtual" employees?

Tara Furiani is the Director of Training & Marketing at The Sterling Group. To learn more about The Sterling Group visit: www.thesterlinggrp.com To learn more about Tara, visit her website at: www.tarafuriani.com.

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