I spoke with a colleague this morning. She mentioned that she was working from the Pre-School Parking Lot.
I felt that I owed full disclosure at that point – and divulged that I was working from my car too.
I had parked about half a block from my child’s school after attending the monthly PTA Meeting.
What a stroke of luck, to be able to work from my (so-called) “home.”
It got me thinking; I’ll bet most of the working moms I talk to on any given day are stealthily taking calls, sending emails and coordinating work and family from the Coffee Bean on the corner and between school pick-ups and soccer drop-offs.
I’ll bet you’ve had these moments too. If they only knew where we were when we closed that big deal or smoothed the ruffled feathers of that important client.
With the recent news about changes made to the Yahoo! Corporate Culture, it got me thinking about efficient work habits.
Although I currently work at home, I spent many years, working in an office environment. I can tell you that I found more ways to waste time between 9 and 7 while at the office, than your average attendee at the Annual Thumb Twiddler’s Convention.
It’s not for everyone, of course.
To make working at home successful, you have to develop the flexibility of a contortionist, the focus of an Olympian and the sneakiness of Mata Hari.
But with the power to control your own time, you can manage your job in record time with optimal results. You save money on childcare and if a child gets sick, you can work by her sickbed with your bunny slippers on, instead of being in the office distracted by your sick child at home.
O.k., to be fair, there is a downside. You do lose the coffee room gossip and water cooler conversation.
You lose the camaraderie of colleagues who can just pop into your office and solve a problem which builds rapport that benefits the larger vision of the company. You also lose the occasional Xerox copy of someone’s naked butt – not sure that’s a “downside” – ha ha.
So be it.
Working from home might mean attending a conference call at 6:00am while you make your child’s lunch for school that day, but that will buy you an hour in the afternoon to attend her 5th grade school Science Fair.
You may have to train the children in your carpool to text and email for you – but I can tell you, my children provide the best secretarial support, ever. And, all they require in payment is an occasional Jamba Juice.
I would love to hear from you on this topic.
If you are working at home or planning to make a switch – share your thoughts and challenges. Most of all, I want to hear about your favorite secret work location. I promise not to tell ANYONE.
Coach Me Quick Tips for Working from Home:
1. Make sure you’ve got the right equipment.
You need a reliable phone, car charger, good headset and iPad or laptop computer. What else do you need to do your job well?
2. Include your children in the process.
If you need them to be quiet sometimes during a call, let them know ahead of time. Explain how long the call will be. Obviously if you have a toddler, this may not work. My trick was to always have plenty of cheerios on hand. What are your tricks?
3. Identify your good work spots.
Where do they have free Wifi? Where do you enjoy sitting for a period of time? Where are the places that are quiet when you need quiet?
4. What are the activities that require you to be at home – at your desk?
Be sure to carve out time for these items because trying to do these someplace else, will just take longer.
5. Make a list of the activities you can complete in between appts., like emptying the dishwasher or throwing a load of laundry in.
It feels great to get this stuff done as long as it doesn’t distract you. After all, one of the perks of working from home is that you don’t have to come home to a big long “to-do” list.
6. What are the work tasks that you need quiet for and what tasks can you do while the children are around?
Get the quiet stuff done before they get home from school.
7. Oldest trick in the book: Do the hardest stuff first each day.
That phone call you don’t want to make and the email you don’t want to send. The rest of the day will just flow once you get the hard stuff done.
Sitting in the carpool lane in L.A.,
Photo credit: Ed Yourdon via CompfightCompfightI