Written by Guest Blogger, Matt Craven
It’s that time of the day again. As a sourcer in the Talent Acquisition team, I’m off to work, searching for great talent. I arrive to my office at 5:30AM every morning. It’s dark and quiet. It doesn’t stay that way for long.
I sit at my desk, power up my computer, and sip my morning chocolate milk (sorry, I’m a coffee hater). My day begins in earnest. I check email, voicemail, LinkedIn, and Twitter. I have a few meetings, work on some projects. The day is flashing before my eyes.
You could say that this is a pretty typical day for most working professionals. The only difference, I work remotely from my home office. This has been my way of life at Schneider Electric for the past five and a half years.
Working from home certainly has its benefits:
- I can start my day early to get to work on the things I need to get done.
- I have a quiet work space with fewer distractions so I can be more productive.
- No commute. Unless you count the 50 feet I have to walk to get to my office. That eliminates the stress of rush hour traffic, is better for the environment, and saves me thousands in gas each year.
- I can prepare healthy meals right in my own kitchen
- Great work/life balance. When the day is done, I turn off my computer and I’m home to enjoy the evening with my family.
- You certainly can’t beat the view! This keeps my stress to a minimum.
As great as those benefits are, there are definitely some challenges to working from home. If you don’t plan accordingly, you can set yourself up for failure. Some of the challenges include:
- You are by yourself. Can you manage working where you do not have people around you to collaborate with or to simply chit chat about the day?
- Sometimes the resources you’d love to have right next to you are not immediately available. Phone calls, email, and instant messages have to replace face-to-face interaction.
- There are distractions that could ruin your day quickly. Maybe it’s a dog, spouse, or child that’s home with you. The little things at home can easily distract from more pressing work obligations.
- You can run the risk of over-working. Your office is at home, and it can be hard to separate your work time from your personal time.
- You work a few steps from a full kitchen, meaning you can eat whatever you want. If done right, that can be a benefit, but temptation can make it hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
These challenges are there for almost everyone who works from home. You have to overcome them to be successful. Here are some tips I’ve learned:
Collaborate, network and build relationships
I make a point every day to speak with at least two colleagues on my team by phone. I need this to feel like I’m part of a team. Fortunately, I’m involved in many projects where I work with cross-functional teams. With today’s technology, it’s easy to stay in touch. But remember that just because they’re not in the room with you, it doesn’t mean everything has to be about business. Sometimes I’ll ask my colleagues in Boston, “What happened in the office today?”
Have a daily plan
Set a plan to accomplish each task you know must get done. Set daily and weekly goals, but also be realistic. Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you have 24 hours to work. Try to work the same number of hours you would if you were at the office. Turn off the computer, get up and walk away when the day is over. Get out of the office and recharge.
Many people who work from home will have music or television on “in the background”. Don’t give in to this temptation! You will find yourself distracted for a few moments and before you know it, hours have passed!
Have a designated work space
Do not work at the kitchen table, or from the couch. That just won’t work. You need a place where you can set up your laptop, monitors, and focus without distractions. Even though you’re home, you’re at work.
When working from home, it’s easy to forget to step away, but you have to. It will help you recharge, energize, and get focused. Take time to walk the dog, grab a healthy snack, or get something to drink.
Working from home requires you to be disciplined. It is not for everyone, but if you can make it work, it can be very rewarding. If you take some of my advice, it will benefit you, and your company!
Joining the Schneider Electric Talent Acquisition team in 2010, Matt Craven a highly successful and accomplished Human Resources professional has nearly 20 years of experience. During this period he has been directly responsible for hiring of 1,500 people due to his recruitment efforts, while maintaining a 90+% retention rate. He attributes his success in his ability to build strong relationships with the people he’s connected to.
His broad experience includes, Talent Acquisition, Project Management, Program Management and Staff Development in the following industries: Technology, Energy, Healthcare & Financial Services.
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