Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Working From Home or I Miss The Office Vending Machine


I miss the office vending machine. More than I miss the office.
At one of our usual coffee catchups, my girlfriend suddenly leapt up and excused herself to make a call. A few minutes later she was back, apologising for the disruption.

In order to secure work for the next week, she had to call in at a specific time to find out what work is available, and let them know whether they can do it. If you can't call right then, too bad, so sad.

If extra work comes up, everyone is emailed, and it's very much first in best dressed. Too bad if you are a uni student in classes, or even just not monitoring your emails every second. Tough luck chuck, no work for you.

Although everyone is paid well and promptly for their efforts, rosters are verbal, and last second (like Thursday for Saturday/Sunday work!). What a terrible way to run a business, and what a scary job to have in terms of trying to budget - you never know what work you will have till the last second!

I've been working from home myself now for a few weeks, and it's a whole new experience for me. I've managed staff that work from home, and I've clocked up the odd extra hours to keep on top of my work, but I've never actually, officially, worked from home.

It's quiet. In some ways it's easier to be distracted (I'll just put away the laundry, I might just pop Ellen on TV, was that the postie?), and in other ways it's easier to stay focused (no birthday/pregnancy/farewell celebrations, no meetings for the sake of meetings, or having my opinion asked just because I'm there).

The most important thing I rely on now is my communication channels. I always took them for granted as a people manager, I didn't realise how critical they are to the employee at home. And I'm not just talking about the phone either. My boss isn't always easily accessibly by phone - she might be in meetings, ignoring calls while she works to a deadline, or even working a flexi day herself. I can't just lean over to ask about time off, check in with other staff regarding company events, or ask for overtime payments. I do everything electronically now, and I can't say how thankful I am that the company I work for has the tools in place for me.

We have an intranet full of internal company information. A payroll system for storing my payslips, changing my banking or superannuation details, and asking for leave or overtime, along with checking the availability of everyone else in my team.

I have a messaging system that allows me to chat electronically with my team real time, and lets me see whether they are available for messaging or off in a meeting. I rarely, if ever, have to pick up the phone, unless I want to. It's stable, reliable, and makes working from home easy.

A vague, unformed dream of mine is to manage my own business sometime in the near future. My dabbling in social media, and working from home for a major company, is making me very conscious that it's not necessary these days to maintain a bricks and mortar base - even if you employ staff! But working from home myself is also showing me that I would need the right tools in place if I want to employ others remotely. 

PayGlobal provides software for both payroll management and human resources management. Whether you're a small business or a large company, PayGlobal has solution for your human resources needs.

Professional remote employment does not just need to be for the majors - you can be a small business and still do it right. And if you have the right tools for managing staff - you are more likely to keep your staff. Training staff is one of the biggest expenses you can incur, and this expense is only validated if you hang onto the staff member for a reasonable time period. So I was more than happy to write this post when the opportunity came to write for PayGlobal - it's timely, and I suspect plenty of my blogging cohorts who are dabbling in side business's may benefit from a service like theirs.

Do you work from home? What are the setbacks you experience and how would you improve on it? Myself, I need to install a vending machine like the office. I miss the stud muffin that used to change the cans.

29 comments:

  1. Not sure if I could work from home, I would get way too distracted!! It is a great idea though for businesses.

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    1. I can see myself running some kind of online business I think, I suspect I would be more focussed if I worked for myself

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  2. I'd love to work from home - that would be the perfect solution to a number of problems. And least disruptive to everyone's routines. Time will tell....

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    1. It's been great for the babies, I still drop them off at a carers for the day, but they don't have to get up so early, they can wake at their own pace since I start work bright and early and take a break when they wake. And when the work day is over....I'm already home! It's great

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  3. I've worked from home on and off over the years, the flexibility is great but I always seemed to find myself still working at midnight. Still, beats the commute - no tolls, petrol or parking, and a hot lunch every day...

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    1. I'm saving a fortune at the moment, easily $20+ per day by working from home, not to mention how much more time I have in my life again!

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  4. Being able to work from home would be a dream come true for me ... but I would definitely be distracted by the postie. And the fridge! So happy for you that you can work from home yourself - you sound really organised and efficient (when Ellen's not distracting you! :)

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    1. Oh the fridge is a massive distraction, I thought I would snack less from home, but unfortunately there are just more options *sigh*

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  5. I think I'd love to work from home, but I guess until I did it I wouldn't know if I actually would like it or not. Certainly seems like it would be much better to be able to make your own hours, but I think I would get too caught up in everything else. Oops! -Aroha (for #teamIBOT)

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    1. I was worried that I would find it isolating, but instead I love how much it has added back to our lives! The babies can wake at their own pace again, instead of me shunting them off to care at 6:30am, and I balance my work day around them. Dinner is not rushed, and the house is clean without me feeling like I have to cram it in. The balance has been awesome. Thanks for coming by xx

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  6. My hubby runs his own business from home in a virtual business (IT recruitment) he visits clients in the city on certain days but can work from anywhere as long as there is internet access. He has a few employees as well who work similar to him (at home, in a coffee shop etc) It works if you have support around the house by your partner and you are disciplined enough to not get distracted. Good luck I think it is everyone's dream to work form home on their own terms

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    1. Oh, I think I would go mad if hubby worked from home too....I hadn't considered it in that light. I actually kind of enjoy a tiny bit of me time each day that comes when I clock off before everyone gets home!

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  7. Communication is the key. I work from home and have done so for about 7 years (also work part time out of the home) and although I work for myself the interaction virtually needs to be precise and regular. It's challenging. I do love working from home though

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    1. I'm working 2 days from home, and 1 day in the office at the moment, and as far as tech and communication goes I don't notice a difference. I feel very lucky when I look at the resources I've been given to use when I compare it to some other peoples experiance of working from home

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  8. I work from home and I do love it. The biggest challenge was retraining my family that I am working not there for them, school holidays are still a big issue. I do 5 days work in 3 short days because I have to. I do have a separate office which helps and I never watch TV but I do take gym breaks instead of lunch breaks :)

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    1. Oh yeah, my 12 year old is a major problem at that. I only overlap my work day with her for a little while after school, and I try to take a break when she gets home so she gets some loving, but 10 minutes later she wants me to find the remote for her

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  9. I work from home 3 days and in the office 2 days so i get a good mix. I love working from home and hope one day to work entirely for myself. My toddler is the biggest distraction at home, and i rely on the days in the office for the head-down, concentraty type projects.

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    1. lol you are more game than me. My bubba's both get dropped off to their Teta's for my working from home days, I would get nothing done with them at home. But I start really early (like 5:30am, which is when I get up to go into the office anyway), then take a break when they wake sometime after 7 to feed, dress and deliver them! I love that it lets them have a more settled morning, and I am still part of their routine instead of office days when ther are delivered half asleep still at 6:30

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  10. No I don't work from home, but I'd be open to the idea. It really all depends on what job it was I think

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    1. I'd love to run my own business, everytime I see a new start up WAHM it gets me fired up again and yet I am dry for idea's for myself on what I could do!

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  11. It's been a year this week since I was made redundant from my government job, and started my own business working from home! Although it was a shock at first, and I wasn't sure how I would go working from home, now I absolutely love it :-)

    Visiting from #TeamIBOT - just call me Xena, Warrior Princess!

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    1. Oh redundancy...thats my dream. I've been with my company for almost 10 years, and I love and adore them. But if ever a redundancy were to be put on the table I would be jumping up and down shouting "kick it to me!" I think I just feel that this is the right time and age to try something new, and a redundancy package would make the something new even bigger and better

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  12. My dream is to work from home but my employer does not have the infrastructure in place to allow that to happen. Maybe one day it will happen...!

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    1. We only got this technology a few years ago. I feel so lucky to be able to work from home, especially when I think how much time and money I am saving, and how much easier it makes it to balance my family reponsibilities!

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  13. I am a freelancer who is very lucky to have been given work with the newspaper I used to be on staff at - it's hard trying to balance it all but I do get lots of perks, eg being able to drop off my girl to school and pick her up!

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    1. I love the balance of being able to work around the kids schedules! And I love being home when my 12 year old finishes school so that she doesn't come home to an empty house.

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  15. I love working from home as a freelance writer but I think for it to be successful, it has to be a long-term commitment and you have to take a real leap of faith that things will work out financially.

    It would be really ideal if more workplaces allowed people (especially parents and carers) this flexibility and then they wouldn't have to make such difficult choices. I think it will be the case more in the future

    Commenting via IBOT :)

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  16. I work from home one day per week following two days in the office. I love it (when the remote connection is working properly), as it's uninterrupted time to concentrate on big pieces of work - something that happens less often in the office with ad hoc questions, impromptu meetings and just background noise in general.

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