Remote, Telecommuting a growing trend and with wi-fi there is no limit!!
Starting off my career in computer programming at Ontario Hydro, I watched the 80’s bring in some of the first contract workers and consulting houses. By 1985, I joined the contract team, but still had to go into the office to do my work. The years progressed, laptops appeared. We could now take our work home with us. Then the internet arrived and home/virtual offices are becoming the norm.
1985 the year I started contracting, 1988 the year I started working from home. My computer used floppy discs, took forever to boot up and I had to go into the office to pick up and deliver my assignments. There was no email, only a few faxes, no webinars or yahoo chat or msn messenger. NO INTERNET. But there were people. Lots of personal contact, either on the phone or in the office. Job interviews were F2F, based on your typed resume with no fancy fonts or pictures. No online surveys, video interviews or phone generated generic interviews. Nope not back in 1988, show up at the company’s office – early, in your best suit or dress. Preparation for the interview – friends/family who knew about the company, newspapers, maybe the library. My desk came equipped with an electric typewriter, my computer, my phone, and a drawer for my paper files. When I first started working remotely our numbers were mostly made up of 20 year old computer wizs or stay-at-home moms. In 2014
“The typical telecommuter is a 49-year-old college graduate — man or woman — who earns about $58,000 a year and belongs to a company with more than 100 employees, according to numbers culled from the Census Bureau’s annual American Community Survey.” The New York Times
The technology, the hardware, the firewalls, the ability to work remotely just keeps on improving. After the winter of 2014 where we couldn’t get out of our driveway for 3 days and we only live 30 kms from Toronto systems were put in place to make access to your work place easier and more secure.
“Federal employees in Washington who worked from home during four official snow days saved the government an estimated $32 million, according to Kate Lister, president of Global Workplace Analytics, and its research arm Telework Research Network.” The New York Times
“Telus is now working toward a goal of having 70 per cent of its work force telecommuting by 2015.” The Globe and Mail
“More than half of us will be working remotely by 2020, said executives, entrepreneurs and business academics at London Business School’s Global Leadership Summit”. London School of Business
It soon became apparent that I had to set rules and guidelines for myself and family members. My first and most important mandate was:
This is your career treat it with respect.
From this statement I was able look at my issues and set up some standards for operating my business. This included simple things like:
- Setting up a private office. I set up a room in the house that was out of bounds for children and visitors (my cats were and still are welcome).
- A proper desk and comfortable chair are a necessity.
- Getting out of my pajamas when I went into my office. I still do casual office attire, but my makeup is on and it makes me feel more professional.
- If you have children be prepared to get a babysitter for your busy times.
- Shut the door so there are fewer distractions. Make sure all family members know the rules. They can’t be yelling for you when you are on the phone conducting an interview.
- Take your lunch break away from your desk. Go for a walk outside. Stretch your legs and relax your mind for 60 minutes.
- Set up mini deadlines. These tasks have to be finished before I can succumb to another cup of tea.
- Set up a schedule for checking your personal email, etc, that way it won’t become distracting.
- Separation of job and family time. Don’t work on the weekend just because it is there and easy to access. It is so easy to say “I will just go and finish that report”. If you aren’t late with the task then use your weekends/night time for family time.
- If your work is computer related, then unplug it and take it to the coffee shop for a change of scenery.
- Keep your equipment up to date, if your computer needs upgrading then do it. Otherwise you will lose productive time with a computer that is slowing down and freezing.
When you respect your career you automatically respect yourself
These small guidelines have helped me work successfully from home for the past 25 years. When I started treating my job like a career, it didn’t take long for my family and neighbours to follow suit. I’m still working on the cats O:).
I am becoming known as “have computer and wi-fi will travel”. This week my computer is in Fort Lauderdale, no snow, no cold, no driving, no stress. I have worked on sunny patios, docks, North America and Europe. Can’t wait to see where it takes me next.
Being able to work remotely is becoming a strong bargaining point when changing or improving your career. One day a week up to only coming in for meetings. Companies are accepting this practice more and more. Are you thinking about joining the bandwagon? Would love to hear about your thoughts and experience on working remotely. Let me know what you have done to make it a successful experience.
Good Luck job huntingLynne Carlson started her career off in administration, moved to Cobol Programming and for the last 14 years worked in all things recruitment. Absolutely loves social media and excited about all the new innovations appearing every day!