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I was talking on the phone to a fellow in Seattle named Dave (who is helping me get some cool Crabby swag made) and the subject of telecommuting came up. He said he tried it but with three kids around, he just couldn't do it. (I suggested hiring out the kids during the day but that idea didn't really fly). Our conversation got me thinking about telecommuting—something I'm fortunate to do a lot of and something that a lot of people wish they could do.
Though I'm a bit of a solo flyer when it comes to the way I work—I don't need someone else to motivate me, and I can get things done on my own—this doesn't mean I'm a misanthrope: I do not despise humankind (although it often tests my patience). In fact, after my first year of telecommuting full-time, I found myself rather missing the friendly banter in the hallways, the seriocomic notes on the fridge about stolen lunches, and yes, even the interruption or two to talk about well, anything besides work. It was getting so bad that I was even jonesing for a meeting with stale cookies and—gasp!—a never-ending PowerPoint presentation.
In other words, I was getting lonely, and I began to wonder if I'd made a terrible mistake, that I was going to spend the rest of my working life alone with my crabby thoughts and my farting dog.
The bottom line here is that we're social creatures with certain needs, and in order to do our best work, we have to meet these needs.
Many of you who've never actually worked from home have an image in your head that involves, you, your pajamas, a homemade latte, and a purring cat on the monitor. Let's cut to the chase here and take a clear look at the facts about telecommuting.
This may seem obvious to you, but I do think it's the most important aspect to telecommuting. See if you fit the mold:
You may answer a resounding "Yes!" to nearly all of these—I know I did. But before you jump headlong into a telecommuting lifestyle, first try it out a couple of days a week for a few weeks (or even months) before committing to a full-time telecommuting schedule. You only know if you try. You may find that working a little at home and a little in the office may be the best solution for you.
I wrote an entire Crabby Office Lady column about telecommuting and it's time to bring that old workhorse out again. In it I'll cover:
So go on, read it. And if you're a telecommuter, what are some of your tips?
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