Working From Home: Is it For You?
The internet era has now made it easier to work from your home, café or garden shed.
All you need is a wifi connection, a laptop, a cup of coffee and … some work to do!
You can setup up a limited company at a virtual office provider or just buy a mailing address so you look more authoritative.
- Could you?
- Should you?
- May you?
Could you do it in practical terms? Is your job such that you don’t need to commute to an office or business unit to do it effectively?
Should you do it? After all, you might be operating OK as-is. Why mess with what’s working?
May you do it? Would your boss or clients give you permission to do this?
If the answer is ‘yes’ to all three, then there is a case to work from home, café, or hotdesking space. The latter is a kind of half-way house between working from home and going into a dedicated, rented office daily.
You work at a desk only when you need to and pay accordingly.
Since the early 2000’s telecommuting has exploded but, as with any new movement, there are ebbs and flows. In summary, here is the basic pattern:
Working from home makes more sense for the self-employed entrepreneur. There’s no point in renting an office if he’s the only one using it.
If appearance is important, he can have a mailing address with a meeting room / desk space accessible when he really needs it http://www.hotdeskingclub.com
If your office is in Holborn Viaduct EC1 but your client is based in Heathrow, he will generally be happy to meet you at his office or at some half-way point, like a hotel, unless he really wants to check you out.
This is where a virtual address that has a meeting room can come in handy, but check how it looks first!
If you’ve never been there before and turn up on the day and you’ve told your client you’re a big-shot and you both find out it’s a grungy shared space at the same time, disaster!
Try to be truthful with your clients, while putting the best gloss on what you do. If the reality matches the image presented the client will be a lot more comfortable and so will you.
You work at your virtual office / shared desk space when you need to, you get out of the house and clear your head when you need to, and the rest of the time, you save money working from home.
Another reason someone works from home is that he has no other choice; he has been ‘let go’ by his previous employer.
This was the case for many in the year after the last recession. Companies cut back, sometimes too much, and Jason Marketing-Bod found himself in the unwelcome position of having to test his skills on his own time!
He quickly figured out how to make an favourable impression in the business community by having:
- His own domain name, and thus his own email address;
- His own business mailing address;
- His own online website (portfolio);
- His own telephone number
- His own corporate meeting room.
For companies, telecommuting works differently.
Larger companies want to cut the square footage they rent. This saves them money.
A dull-minded accountant or mediocre whizz-kid suggests hotdesking as a solution: middle-ranking staff don’t have their own desk. They take whatever desk is available on the day, as:
1. They have company laptops (portable);
2. They’re often out of the office making sales pitches or doing presentations;
3. They can do quite a bit of their work at home.
So, they don’t need their own dedicated desk 24/7, 365.
Some people might have their feathers ruffled, but, hey, if they don’t like it they can work somewhere else entirely, right?
So the company starts letting people ‘work from home’. Two problems arise:
1. They don’t actually work when they ‘work from home’. They goof off!
2. They lose contact with the corporate culture. This is actually more serious.
Out of sight, out of mind. John Worker-Bee is not getting clues 9-5 about what the company is doing and where it is going.
Jane Worker-Ant goes off on a tangent that is not actually productive, as she’s only rarely getting feedback from head-office.
Jim Firefly is getting a bit bored and, not having his nose to the grindstone 9 – 5, is starting to examine his other options, one of which is applying for a job with a competitor!
Corporates should only make peripheral, replaceable staff telecommute.
It’s strategic to keep important staff close to you and to each other, so they can communicate and cooperate more effectively.
Mediocre ideas whizz around our culture at lightning speed, thanks to the internet and social media. This doesn’t mean they are as good as they are painted. One thing a company which is stuck in a rut does is cut costs; it’s a quick way to give yourself an instant boost to the end-of-year bottom line, but one needs to be careful.
Telecommuting can help a growing company’s pressure on space, in the short term, by figuring out which staff can be safely left to operate from home and which need to be watched 9 - 5 and or kept in the loop!
Need help figuring out what you need? Contact us
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