When your home is also your office – Is Working from Home Right For You?

Anyone who works remotely has a ‘why’ – they want to be there when the kids come home from school or fit in that afternoon game of dodgeball. Some prefer to work when creativity hits, even if it’s in the middle of the night or spend their money on the latest XBox game instead of gas or meals. As long as the work gets done, working from home offers a lot of perks and flexibility.

According to the U.S. Telecommuting Forecast for 2009-2016, it is estimated that about 63 million Americans will be working from home this year. As more and more companies move towards this type of work arrangement, many people are exploring the option of working in a remote environment. The fact is that this work set-up is here to stay. Today’s work opportunities are less about being in an office 9-5 and more about results.  Employers today are looking for people who can work independently and with little hand-holding, are passionate about what they do and can be collaborative even from thousands of miles away.

Successful remote workers usually have the following attributes in common:

  • They contribute trust every day. Their word is everything.
  • They communicate early and often
  • They find time for focus
  • Do one thing, do it really well
  • Are proactive

Working remotely does present some challenges: You miss out on being around people not just for face-to-face meetings but also for the fun stuff like playing ping-pong in the office or going out to lunch, you lose a clear distinction between work and the rest of your life and distractions can make it difficult to focus on your work.

Here are some ways to address some of these challenges and make a remote work arrangement a win-win proposition for you and your employer!

Taming Distractions
The load of laundry from last weekend, that home project you’ve been meaning get to. Temptation runs aplenty at home, and it’s too easy to putter away and not know where your day went but finding ways to focus and execute tasks among the distractions is key. Whether it’s taking an extra hour in the morning to make sure the rest of your world is in order before sitting down to work or setting a timer to finish a work task before taking a break to take care of personal phone calls, getting your work done takes discipline and time management skills.

Face Time
If you look forward to in-person meetings and water cooler chats about the latest binge-worthy TV show, then working from home could be a struggle for you or require a major adjustment. Most companies have regular communication, but it is all online. Working remotely can get lonely. If your need for social interaction is high, attend regular networking events or meetups, schedule coffee time with friends, or join groups for hobbies or sports that you enjoy.

That said, tools like Slack or Skype can help to address some of the social isolation. In addition to our daily team standups, project chat channels and monthly company-wide check-in calls, at Kanopi we have channels for talking about movies, sharing funny videos, motivating each other to exercise and we are co-authoring a company novel. We find that our team feels more connected when we exchange fun information not just work information.

Workaholics on Overdrive
Are you able to shut-off your mobile devices and leave work behind at the end of the day or do you wake up in the middle of the night just to get out one more email? Workaholics be warned – it is very easy to fall into working 24 hours a day when your work is only a couple steps away. You need to create work-life boundaries!

  • Create a specific office space where you work.
  • Don’t run the TV during work hours.
  • Block times on your schedule for work and also for personal goals like exercising or catching up with the kids when they get home from school.
  • It’s important to remember the home part of working at home and give yourself the benefit of downtime.

Get Up. Move Around.
When you are in an office you tend to walk to co-workers desks, the printer or stroll to get coffee. When you work at home – your footprint is small. Make the time – or set reminders – to get up and move around. Go for a walk. Do a small 5-minute exercise or like Kanopi does – the PLANK challenge.

Change up your Work Environment.
You have the freedom to be wherever your laptop and you can be, so do it. Change up your work environment. Try a coffee shop. Or a co-sharing space. A change of scenery is a great physical and mental shift!

There are many rewards and benefits for employees who are able to work from home! Here are just a couple examples:

Embrace the Flexibility and Rewards
“Working with the entirely distributed team has been really satisfying. Conversely, there are a unique set of rewards, and since everyone shares in these, there is a natural resonance among us. Happiness makes us productive, and being distributed makes us dynamic. You might say we are naturally agile.”
Shiraz Dindar, Senior Drupal Developer

Strike While the Iron is Hot!
“Development is a creative process, working from home allows me to work when the creativity is high and relax when it is not. Being told to be creative between 9am and 4pm just doesn’t produce good work.
Jason Savino, Senior Drupal Engineer

Healthy Body and Mind!
“I love working at home because I can live a healthier life. The time that others spend on the road, I use to exercise, cook nice and healthy meals for myself and socialize with my friends. For me, working from home helps me have a healthy body and mind”
Bekir Dag, Drupal Engineer

Enjoy the Freedom and Flexibility!
I love working from home, Can wear whatever I like, There is no commute, There is no limit on when I work. Can set my own schedule, Can concentrate better since no annoying coworkers. Have nice tax breaks. Have more hours to work (no commute remember). Eat more healthy and live more healthy.”
Erald de Hoog, Senior Drupal Engineer

Goodbye Commute
“Eliminating my daily commute has made a huge difference in my life. Not only do I start the day without the added stress, I am saving on parking and gas, not to mention that I’m doing my part for the environment.”
Dave Bezuidenhout, Developer

Family Can Come First!
“I’ve been working from home for almost 20 years now. As a single mom it afforded me the ability to be with my kids, to be involved in their activities, and to not feel guilty about staying home to take care of them when they were sick. I like working when I work best and setting my own schedule. I also get to enjoy my home and my pets as well as my family on more than just evenings & weekends. Finding a remote team you enjoy working with is just as tough as finding an ‘in person’ team you enjoy working with. But once you do it is awesome. Working at Kanopi I am enlightened, entertained, educated, encouraged and that makes for enjoying my chosen profession.”
Kathy – Support

There are many ways to make a distributed arrangement work for you. Here are some additional tips and tricks for better organization, accountability and personal interaction in a remote environment:

Contribute Trust Everyday
“Make a point of staying in touch w/ your client, boss and other team members on a regular basis through daily check-ins, updates and follow-up on the status of your projects. Being responsive and available instills confidence in your work and trust that it is getting done even if it’s from your kitchen table.”
Deborah Pappalau, Project Manager

Set a Consistent Schedule. Structure your Workday.
“Some workers find when working from home they actually work longer hours, where some seem to not be able to keep a consistent schedule – working a couple hours one day and then working three times or more or overnight. Same as if you have your list of items to do and your breaks set out at the office, structure your day working from home in the same fashion.”
Lynette Sawyer, Marketing

Get Ready For Work.
“You can easily fall into a pattern of pajamas or workout attire when you work from home. Wake up in the morning, and get dressed to approach the day like you are going to the office.”
Darlyne Dolap, Executive Assistant

In short, the best remote workers contribute trust every day, communicate early and often, are proactive and find time for focus. With some planning, organization and limit-setting, achieving a successful remote work arrangement that is good for you, your family and your career is within your reach!

For information about remote work opportunities at Kanopi studios visit: https://kanopi.com/careers