Friday, July 26, 2013

Telecommuting is not for ducks

For the July 4th holiday, I was granted an additional day off. I was pleased, since it had been very busy at work the prior month and I was unable to spend quality time with the children. So when the opportunity arose to take an extra day off, I was relieved. Until the duck calls started. 

It had been a while since I spent the day at home with the kids. This was evident by my nine-year-olds clinginess during that period. He followed me everywhere, everywhere, and all that came out of his mouth was, "Ma, Ma, Ma". Repeatedly. Think the Aflak duck on the company's television commercial. Why on earth had I ever considered working from home, I thought.

Having spoken to working mothers who do work from home, you discover there are challenges to overcome. There are always distractions: the piling dishes and 
laundry, the bills that must be paid, etc, etc. Does the real work ever get accomplished? Yes, it does. It initially takes a while to become accustomedto working   away from the professional office environment, but eventually your work does become a first priority and that domestic work is overlooked. Where there was once anxiety in trying to separate your personal life from the domestic one, you find that balance somehow. And you're more content to deal with pestering duck calls. Even when they come from your sweet children. 

A new study that's still in the works has found that remote workers were more happier and engaged at work. What the researchers found was participant were more positive about their work when they were home. Many reported being more focused, feeling higher levels of creativity and feeling relaxed. Of course, there was a catch. The workers were home on average only once a week, but it was enough to have refreshed and ready for the return to the office.

So will I ever consider working from home? Yes. I'd love nothing more than to spend some time away from the office to collect my thoughts, find newer ways to finish my work, and avoid the hassles of commuting to and from work. The question though, is whether I will ever get to that point? While many businesses offer lip service to telecommuting, many have still not bought into the idea. Which, according to the study, is expected. Some work must is better performs at the office, especially in those professions that require a lot of collaboration. But if remote work is possible, then more companies really should consider it. 

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