Any telecommuters out there?

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Do you love telecommuting?

Yes and I telecommute
11
28%
No and I telecommute
5
13%
I would love to but I don't currently
15
38%
I have no desire and I don't currently
4
10%
That's a Gouda!
5
13%
 
Total votes : 40

Any telecommuters out there?

Postposted on Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:15 am

Well after sitting at roughly the same desk for almost 11 years, my employer is allowing the lease on my building to expire at the end of April and my office is about to become a handful of telecommuters scattered about the greater Peoria area. I've known for a couple months now that this is coming, and I've been planning for it. My wife and I have been house shopping anyway, it's always been planned that we would be buying this spring, though at this point it does not look like we'll be moving into a new place in time for my May 1 start, though there's still time. Anyway, I see enough possible benefits and a handful of drawbacks:

Benefits -
Company is paying for my internet
Save gas driving to/from work
Saves time with no commute
Home when the kid comes home from school
Probably others.

Drawbacks -
Lack of personal contact with coworkers (could also be a benefit for some, though I like mine)
Being able (or unable) to untether myself from work
Less "need" to go outdoors
Need to dedicate a portion of my dwelling to an "office"
Probably others.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that I'll probably find that I need to maintain my morning routine in terms of getting up, showering, getting dressed, and so on. I'll also have to be more intentional about leaving the house, which I'm already bad at doing. If I don't have somewhere specific I need to be, I tend to stay home.

So if there are other gerbils who have done this before, I'd be happy to hear some of your insights or advice. :)
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Re: Any telecommuters out there?

Postposted on Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:25 am

Maintaining the routine is key. I "work from home" and have on many an occasion actually worked from home on projects needing no direct office contact. If you don't get yourself into the "I'm at work now" mindset you'll quickly find the day gone and no work progress made.
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Re: Any telecommuters out there?

Postposted on Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:33 am

Make sure your work area is completely separate from your living/sleeping area if at all possible.

My job allows me the ability to work at home if needed, or required in some cases due to time constraints, and while it is really nice sometimes it can get old really fast. Just try to separate as much as possible between work and home. Try to get them to get you a dedicated PC.

LIke Ned and you said, make sure you have a good morning routine. If you have the time I'd even suggest trying to work out in the morning or something. Hoping out of bed and being at the desk 10 minutes later is not fun for very long.
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Re: Any telecommuters out there?

Postposted on Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:38 am

Similar situation happened with my mom in the Indy area. She seems to do alright mixing work and home life, but I feel like she ends up working more than she "should" regarding hours and unpaid overtime. I wouldn't be opposed to telecommuting myself, but I would also resist working unpaid overtime as much as possible, which would be more difficult since my desk is in my place of residence.

Anywho...hope you enjoy it and good luck! My only true suggestion is to raid your company's office as much as possible. They might be selling off office equipment that you can snag for your home office, like office chairs, cabinets, or maybe even some computer equipment. Plan out your office ahead of time and you might catch a deal on your wish list. Oh, and since your home office is related to your income now, keep receipts for everything you spend toward an office and claim it on your taxes. I'm sure you already thought of that, but a reminder can't hurt :)
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Re: Any telecommuters out there?

Postposted on Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:42 am

I will third the set a routine comment. Also, I'd highly recommend putting time on the calendar marked as "work" where you will be doing office related things, at least until you get into the habit. Having your own office space where you can isolate yourself from the house helps (at least it helps me). Before I did that a few times that I "worked from home" got eaten up in house related tasks that distracted me.

The other thing is that it can get lonely. One suggestion, if you can manage it, is to work out of a local cafe (preferably with free wi-fi), at least one day a week. If you find yourself being productive, then you can make that your "office" space, and you won't get lonely.
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Re: Any telecommuters out there?

Postposted on Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:57 am

I telecommuted for a few years. The "distractions" issue was a problem for me.
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Re: Any telecommuters out there?

Postposted on Mon Mar 18, 2013 12:12 pm

I work at a small game studio and we are permitted to work from home, not in an every day way, but for example, if I'm feeling like I'm getting a cold and don't want to pass my germs on to my co-workers, or if the cable guy is coming during the day and I have to be there to let them in, etc, we are able to work from home.

I've done it perhaps a handful of times and overall, it has been really good.

I have dual screens on my rig at home so in that sense I'm all set up. At times I do take some liberties such as taking a gaming break, which ends up extending my work day due to having to make up those hours, but all in all it is pretty nice and helps to break up the day. We use google docs and google chat so all my design and testing material is available to me remotely, and I'm always able to chat with my coworkers on chat. We use TestFlight for our iOS app dev builds and I'm able to download and install them directly to a device without having to build them directly from a mac using xcode, so keeping up-to-date with our builds is easy no matter where I am.

As long as you have the discipline to stay on task outside of the office, it can be a nice experience and I find that overall, I am more productive at home than at the office.
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Re: Any telecommuters out there?

Postposted on Mon Mar 18, 2013 2:04 pm

I would have far fewer reservations about it if it was an every-now-and-then sort of thing. This is going to be my M-F every day gig from here on out, at least until/unless my employer decides for some reason to re-establish an office in the area, or if they acquire someone else in my area.

I do appreciate the advice found here. A friend of mine summed it up really well when I was talking to him, I think, so I'll put it here - "if you answer the phone and respond to emails promptly, there won't be a problem, but if you're slow to respond and they don't think you're working, then are you really working?" And that makes sense. In a lot of ways this won't be too different than what I have been doing - my boss for the last 6+ years has always been 3 hours away, for example. So if I keep doing what I do here, it'll be fine.
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Re: Any telecommuters out there?

Postposted on Mon Mar 18, 2013 4:55 pm

I work from twice a week the rest is in the office for meetings and such. I keep a strict schedule but do get distracted from time to time. My company has a fairly strict policy when it comes to home offices and they are subject to "inspection". Stuff like The office itself and its setup. My company also pays for a land line and internet (business package) so thats a bonus.

I find that Espn and my personal gaming PC are my biggest distractions. But I do get more work done at home than at the office. I have from time to time left my home office and gone into work if I needed to. When I do work form home I find that I work more hours and at differently than 8-12-lunch-1-5. Because I am a morning person I get up early, take a early lunch then break at about midday only to return after the kid is asleep.
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Re: Any telecommuters out there?

Postposted on Mon Mar 18, 2013 9:04 pm

My wife works from home 4 days a week, goes in once (usually). She makes it work, I could never do it. Too much else here I'd rather be doing
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Re: Any telecommuters out there?

Postposted on Mon Mar 18, 2013 9:42 pm

Are those "handful of telecommuters scattered about" part of the same team or each one belongs to a different department? If they are the same team, then you can suggest the company to pay for some meeting place weekly for "syncing up". That should help with the interaction bit. Food is optional as always (nice if the company pays for it too, but one step at a time). There should be some "office space for rent for a couple hours a week" kind of facility for you to consider.
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Re: Any telecommuters out there?

Postposted on Mon Mar 18, 2013 11:17 pm

Flying Fox wrote:There should be some "office space for rent for a couple hours a week" kind of facility for you to consider.


I kinda doubt that Peoria has a lot of those. Then again, those of us in Chicago tend to think of the Southern portion of the state as being full of farms and outhouses. so maybe there are
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Re: Any telecommuters out there?

Postposted on Tue Mar 19, 2013 7:50 am

That's an accurate description of 80% of the land south of I-80. :lol:

I think getting one of those types of spaces would be great - not something I thought of. I might look into it. Or work from Starbucks. I'll be taking home my IP phone from the office, and I can just forward it to my cell if I want to go work at Starbucks for a couple hours.
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Re: Any telecommuters out there?

Postposted on Tue Mar 19, 2013 10:42 am

Flying Fox wrote:There should be some "office space for rent for a couple hours a week" kind of facility for you to consider.

On a related note, lots of hotels have rentable conference and convention rooms that tend to sit empty for much of the week, particularly during the day. Reserve a usually-empty slot on a recurring basis and the cost might be fairly cheap. If the hotel has on-site food service or a contract with a local caterer, you might be able to arrange drinks and snacks as part of a package deal.

Schools, colleges, and libraries sometimes have options like this, too.
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Re: Any telecommuters out there?

Postposted on Tue Mar 19, 2013 1:15 pm

derFunkenstein wrote:I think getting one of those types of spaces would be great - not something I thought of. I might look into it. Or work from Starbucks. I'll be taking home my IP phone from the office, and I can just forward it to my cell if I want to go work at Starbucks for a couple hours.

The problem with Starbucks, or just the home (or rotating homes) of a telecommuting team member, is that they are not formal enough to induce a "serious work" environment. Great if you can pull it off, but may require even greater discipline from all of you to stay professional while serious matters are discussed. Also, public environments may not be good for secret stuff, and the place may not have what you need for a collaborative working environment. Who would decorate their own home (even the home office) with 4 gigantic walls of whiteboards? (and you can forget Starbucks with the whiteboard thing) In the past not everyone has a webcam that can do video conferences, but now it should not be a problem. A few years back I also liked facilities that provides those expensive whiteboards that can print paper copies. Now we can just take notes with our cell phone cams so regular whiteboards will be enough.
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Re: Any telecommuters out there?

Postposted on Tue Mar 19, 2013 7:26 pm

I've been working from home for the past 5 years. I do support for a VoIP company and we provide support 7 days a week 8am till 12pm 365 days a year. Some of the things I would suggest would be following your 'normal' routine. Get up at the same time, shower, dress and the rest of your morning ritual. Although if you're commute is significantly long and you're use to waking up at 4:30 to get to work by 8, you can now sleep in some. Train everyone else in your house that your work time is your work time, just because you're home doesn't mean they can interrupt you. Took a couple weeks to get this across to my wife, but now we're both use to it, when I'm working, I'm working, it's not a time chit chat with me or start talking to me about 'other things'. Often times when I may not look busy, as in typing at my keyboard or on a call, I'm busy thinking something through, and I hate being interrupted. So it's easiest if everyone knows from this hour to this hour I'm working, and generally, only if I go seek you out then I'm 'free' for a bit. When you have a routine down, then people just know ok it's 10am and he's working, and there's no confusion.

Probably the hardest part for me, like you, is getting out of the house. I already don't like being in public, so I tend to stay inside as much as possible and have to force myself to go out and see the sun, get fresh air. If you have friends that live near by that could be a help, or family near by that you could visit every once in awhile. I have neither so again I tend to stay inside even though I know better.

My co-workers talks on AIM, Jabber and have a persistent Chat room open. For meetings we use Google Hangout. Everything is posted on Google Calendar so we know when people plan on going on vacations or taking a personal day or when the next meeting is. Management can track our work as we do support through a ticket or email system.

I definitely love working from home, it's so much more comfortable, less distractions, get to use my own equipment instead of the cheap @#@# you normally get. Less time commuting, and less stress. Going into the office there is always so many distractions, with phones ringing, people talking, people coming in and out of the office, mail delivery, fedex, ups, etc. Constant interruptions of hey can you look at this, or what do you think of that. With IM and working at home, you can manage people's work interruptions much better.
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Re: Any telecommuters out there?

Postposted on Wed Mar 20, 2013 8:40 am

FlyingFox has a good point about the coffee shop. Not really good for secrecy or a lot of talking on the phone.

We looked at more houses last night and completely fell in love with a ranch that has a nice fenced-in patio. Maybe I can go work outside.
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Re: Any telecommuters out there?

Postposted on Sat Mar 23, 2013 10:16 pm

I setup the VPN at my office since I wanted the people there to have a better solution than playing email attachment ping-pong for doing work at home. It is definitely used as a supplement to instead of a replacement for actually showing up at the office. Given the latest round of inclement weather that we are about to receive, the ability to work from home is a big plus for maintaining some productivity when driving in becomes treacherous too.
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Re: Any telecommuters out there?

Postposted on Sun Mar 24, 2013 9:13 pm

ludi wrote:
Flying Fox wrote:There should be some "office space for rent for a couple hours a week" kind of facility for you to consider.

On a related note, lots of hotels have rentable conference and convention rooms that tend to sit empty for much of the week, particularly during the day. Reserve a usually-empty slot on a recurring basis and the cost might be fairly cheap. If the hotel has on-site food service or a contract with a local caterer, you might be able to arrange drinks and snacks as part of a package deal.

Schools, colleges, and libraries sometimes have options like this, too.



I have never worked out of the house, but I like the above. Going to school full time while working is more then a full time job when I did it, and the change of scenery can trigger various modes.
I tended to work better in my office, study better at the library, and relax better at home.


Personally, if I had the chance to, I would do it like this:

1)Keep my routine, in terms of getting up, showering, getting dressed, and so on like you said, with a few changes. (see below)

2)Grab a big rolling bag and make it your office, with or without IP phone if you don't want to forward it.
Make it a complete mini office, with laptop, tablet, headset, snack, etc...

3) Either 2 or 3 days a week, take your portable office and leave the house; go get coffee and a snack, and go to a college or public library, the kind that has private study rooms.
(My brother has a great quiet place to study at home, but always gets more done when he goes to that kind of library, and there are always rooms open.)

4) Either 2 or 3 days a week (depending what you decide with above) , leave the house, go for a short drive for coffee or something, then go home and work, in a totally separate work space.
I am currently building a room in my basement as a office, and just basic framing, electrical and unfinished dryway being put up is only a few grand for the guys doing it.
Walls will be drywall, but not mudded, tapped or painted. (No budget for it now)
I am then gonna roll out some closeout basement carpet with the built in padding a BAM! Instant office.

The routing and leaving home can be adjusted once you get used to it, but in the beginning, it will keep you from rolling out of bed thinking you are already at work :)

Friends that work from home swear by the above.

Good luck, and use your new found freedom to make it to the BBQ this year. :)
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Re: Any telecommuters out there?

Postposted on Mon Mar 25, 2013 8:09 am

Dposcorp wrote:I am then gonna roll out some closeout basement carpet with the built in padding a BAM! Instant office.


Peel and stick Carpet tiles are the bomb and are very cheap! I actually use them in my home office. When one wears or get a nasty stain just pull it up and replace.

I think I carpeted my office for less than 100 bucks by using them.
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Re: Any telecommuters out there?

Postposted on Mon Mar 25, 2013 3:32 pm

tanker27 wrote:
Dposcorp wrote:I am then gonna roll out some closeout basement carpet with the built in padding a BAM! Instant office.


Peel and stick Carpet tiles are the bomb and are very cheap! I actually use them in my home office. When one wears or get a nasty stain just pull it up and replace.

I think I carpeted my office for less than 100 bucks by using them.

I should get a whole bunch of different colors and just put them down all hodge-podge. I might not be able to get my wife to go fro that.
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Re: Any telecommuters out there?

Postposted on Tue Mar 26, 2013 6:42 am

I bought two colors that compliment each other and made a pattern. similar to this.
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Re: Any telecommuters out there?

Postposted on Tue Mar 26, 2013 7:05 am

That probably makes more sense. :lol:
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Re: Any telecommuters out there?

Postposted on Wed Mar 27, 2013 12:10 am

Dposcorp wrote:Good luck, and use your new found freedom to make it to the BBQ this year. :)


this
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