Conclusion: Next Steps
Working at home is not for everyone, even though each of the concerns addressed in this chapter can be effectively addressed. Telecommuting, whether you are an independent contractor or a corporate employer, requires a greater degree of trust and self-discipline—on the part of both the company and the worker.
The nature of the work must be evaluated more by its effectiveness than the time it takes to complete. In effect, even the person who is employed by a company must view his work with a project/contract mentality. Work-at-home employees must be responsible for achieving key project milestones in a given time frame. Whether the employee performs that work between 6:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. or between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. becomes far less relevant.
I, for one, thrive in a work-at-home situation. My day generally starts sometime around 4:30 a.m. Early mornings are my most productive time. For others, late evenings are best. The benefit for many telecommuters is that they can find their productive time and adopt their schedule accordingly.
One professional I know created an incredible business working as a consultant for companies on the East coast. He had two small children and was a widower. The need to make a living, while at the same time being available to his children, forced him to get creative.
He would start his day early—very early, perhaps 4:30 a.m.—while his children slept. He would perform work until it was time to get his children ready for school. After taking them to school, his day would continue. He would be finished with work typically well before his kids' school day was done.
Certainly, his schedule required discipline, but the dividend was an increased level of satisfaction with his life as a whole.
If you believe that the work you perform can be done at home, propose the idea to management. It might be management is simply not ready for it. Perhaps your manager does not understand the benefits. Or perhaps there is a pragmatic need for bodies at the workplace. However, using a little bit of creativity can make the possibility of telecommuting work, even if it's only part-time.
Before you approach your employer, have a plan in place that addresses the concerns from the company's perspective, while proactively addressing the concerns from your perspective.