During my career I have worked in a variety of settings including small to medium offices and solo offices based out of my home. This experience has provided me with unique insights into the nature of both an office environment and a home based office. Given the nature of my work, there is a distinct advantage to the home office environment. Elements of your work are probably the same as mine.
Let’s start by taking a look at the nature of the work that I do on a regular basis. While not the same your list probably has very similar elements. In any given day my work involves the use of critical thinking skills, digital fluency and literacy skills, communication skills, research and validation skills, instructional design skills, social media, marketing, project planning, and reporting skills.
All of these are high focus, high concentration tasks. My ability to apply these skills to the best of my ability is what keeps the lights on in the office, regardless of where that office is located. Those who pay the bills have hired me to produce results. That’s the same reason they hired you. They had a problem and you provided a solution. I’ve always said that employers hire solutions, and to get hired and stay hired you want to be that solution.
Given the nature of my work and the results that are anticipated from my skill set, working from a home office is a far better environment for me to achieve results. Being able to adjust the flow of the day to the work that needs to be accomplished is one of the advantages. The other is being able to manage the distractions that come from being in a group office setting.
Don’t get me wrong I like a good distraction as much as the next person. Chatting with a co-worker, grabbing a coffee, or just heading to the lunchroom to find out what’s happening, all of these are good…when you aren’t feeling pressured to get work done. That said, there are times when the deadline is looming, the work requires your focused attention, and the last thing you need is the restless energy of an office environment. The least distraction is going to make that small vein on the side of your head pop out. Your normally friendly disposition is gone out the window, setting the stage for office conflict as you try to do what you need to before the next distraction comes along. (Hey, can you help me with this? It will just take a second.)
From my experience I’ve concluded that the work is the boss, not the location where it happens. Working from a home office environment allows me to stay focused on the work and coaxes out my best skills, time after time. The work gets done and my stress levels remain within acceptable limits. Every time I step back into a group office environment the harmony of work accomplished to stress levels dissolves, despite my best efforts to the contrary.
I’m not alone in work that demands more focus and concentration. If the work is the boss, then it’s time to sit down for chat and sort out a new strategy for getting the work accomplished and staying healthy and happy. For me, the strategy is about working from home. It just might be for you too.
Work from Home Champion
Legitimate Opportunities to Work from Home Project. It’s not all scams! We have done the research and want to share it with you, so that you can share it with your clients.
Free Introductory Webinar: Legitimate Opportunities to Work from Home for Career Professionals. It’s not all scams! We’ve done the research and want to share it with you, so that you can share it with your clients. Register now for September 17!
Legitimate Opportunities to Work from Home – Train the Trainer Webinar Serie. This webinar series will give you and your agency everything you need to offer legitimate work from home workshops in your centre while protecting clients from scams. You can register now for the series in October!
All workers in the U.K. (not just parents and caregivers) have the right to request flexible work arrangements including start and end times or working from home as examples. This came into effect June 30, 2014. Once a worker has been with an employer for 26 weeks or more the employee has the right to make a statutory application that the employer must deal with in a reasonable manner.1
Why this change in policy? In a research study conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) in 2008 and the results published in 2010 they conclude that flexible work arrangements (including work from home) can:
Increase job satisfaction
Increase social responsibility
Reduce stress in the workplace
Retain talent. 2
These key findings are echoed in the news reports surrounding the U.K. policy decision. A quick summary of these include:
Balancing job and home
Keeping people in long-term employment
Meeting the needs of older workers who want to work differently
Meeting the needs of younger workers who want to pursue training
Boosting productivity and morale
To bring the work policies up to date with the needs and choices of modern families
A modern approach to work that can improve the lives of everyone. 3
I recognize the truth in both of these lists, however it wasn’t until I came to this quote that I truly came to understand what is at the heart of this transition.
“Time is indeed the new currency,” remarked Jill Evans-Silman, of Meador Staffing Services. “The demands on each of the generations represented in today’s workforce are such that we are all in need of time we didn’t have before. Organizations that recognize the value of using flexible work arrangements to give back time to their employees—on a schedule that benefits both the employee and the employer—will be the organizations to win in the new economy.” 4
Time, we have a limited amount of it. Over the past several years we have been challenged within our companies to ‘do more with less’, ‘find inefficiencies’ and ‘increase productivity’. Those same minds that found those inefficiencies and increased productivity within an economy of cut backs are now turning those mantras onto to their own lives. The answers they find go something like this:
Do more…by allowing me to spend less time in the office. Find inefficiencies…free me from a two hour daily commute and watch my efficiency increase. Increase productivity…give me the time I need to care for my family or myself and I will be better able to focus, increasing my productivity.
The U.K. is not the only country with a flexible work policy. Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands all have flexible work policies.5 Perhaps like the industrial revolution of the 18th and 19th century, starting in Britain and moving to Belgium, France, Germany, then beyond, these countries are providing leadership in the humanization of work movement. I for one, certainly hope so.
Work from Home Champion
Legitimate Opportunities to Work from Home Project. It’s not all scams! We’ve done the research and want to share it with you, so that you can share it with your clients.
2 Workplace Flexibility in the 21st Century, Society for Human Resource Management (2010): http://www.shrm.org/researchhttp://www.shrm.org/research/surveyfindings/articles/documents/09-0464_workplace_flexibility_survey_report_inside_finalonline.pdf
4 Workplace Flexibility in the 21st Century, Society for Human Resource Management (2010), p. 27.
5 Flexible working policies: a comparative review, Ariane Hegewisch, Institute for Women’s Policy Research, 2009 http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/policyresearch/pages/default.aspx
One of the biggest comments I hear in talking to people about work from home opportunities is how afraid they are of the scams. That’s tragic! There are so many legitimate work from home opportunities out there just waiting for qualified, self-directed people that fear should not be a barrier to success.
Let me start by asking you a question: how do you know if something is legitimate on the internet? Say you are about to buy something over the internet how do you know you are going to get what you ordered? Have you booked a vacation over the internet? How did you decide that making that purchase or booking that vacation is worth the risk?
When I ask this question of webinar participants they come up with really great answers, like:
– I do an internet search on the company, see what comes up
– I look them up on Google maps and even use the street view to see the location
– I ask around, hear what friends and colleagues have to say
– I trust the ‘brand’
– I check them on the Better Business Bureau sites
– I phone them
These are all great answers. If you don’t do any of these, ask yourself why not? Is it because some emotional trigger has been pulled? Is it because it has an ‘act fast’ button and the time is running out? Perhaps the website and information just looks so good and professional that it leaves little room for doubt. Is it that you really really want ‘it’ and that is all that matters?
Scams work because they push your emotional buttons. They push your buttons with key words and marketing language designed to get you to act…without thinking. Like the time I ordered some specialized WOK from an infomercial. It never arrived and I was too embarrassed to report it to VISA so I just paid the $100. Can you relate?
We fear scams because they can cost us real money, time or our identity. Not to mention the embarrassment we feel once duped. What can we learn from experiences with scammers? To use our critical thinking skills to evaluate whatever is on offer before us. This includes work from home opportunities.
“Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action.”
All of the answers provided above are examples of critical thinking in action. They involve the many components that make up critical thinking. Scammers want us to be passive in our thinking and active in our response. Critical thinking is active in both. It involves you as the thinker actively gathering information, analyzing and evaluating that information to decide on a course of action.
Don’t give scammers what they want – start being active in your thinking and your response. Start using your critical thinking skills related to what you read and see on the internet. On a job board, did you see an opportunity to work from home? Then use your critical thinking skills to investigate and validate the opportunity. You will be surprised at just how many legitimate opportunities there are to create a life of flexibility, income and contribution all from the comfort of home.
Work from Home Champion
Free Introductory Webinar: Legitimate Opportunities to Work from Home for Career Professionals. It’s not all scams! We’ve done the research and want to share it with you, so that you can share it with your clients. http://bit.ly/INFOWFH
Legitimate Opportunities to Work from Home – Train the Trainer Webinar Serie. This webinar series will give you and your agency everything you need to offer legitimate work from home workshops in your centre while protecting clients from scams. You can register now for the series in September!
A quick search on the internet will lead you to a wide variety of terms associated with work from home opportunities. From the many definitions researched, here is the one that best captures the spirit of the movement.
“Growing business practice in which an employee or entrepreneur works at home instead of in a company office. The development of personal computers (see microcomputer) has broadened the scope of work-at-home applications to include white-collar workers who can communicate electronically with a central office, sending and receiving memoranda, reports, and research material.”
Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/work-at-home#ixzz37dUtn0M1
This definition provides two categories: a) an employee, b) an entrepreneur. Let’s explore these further.
An employee who works from home may or may not be in the same geographic area as the company’s head office. For example the company might have a head office in Toronto or San Francisco and the employee is in Newfoundland or British Columbia. Examples of companies like this include Liveca.ca (tech suave Charted Accountants), Intuit.ca (tax preparation support and more) or Automattic.com (those who love tech). These are just three examples of companies that hire you as an employee with many (or better) benefits than a bricks and mortar business, except you work from your home office.
Let’s draw the distinction a bit tighter around the entrepreneur’s. The distinction is not on the home-based business, rather where the customer base is and how customers access the services.
A) Entrepreneur A operates a business from their home. Customers come to them and they provide a service locally. Customers find them because they need the service locally. Examples: a home based dog-grooming business or, a landscaping company.
B) Entrepreneur B operates a business from their home. Customers are across the city or around the world. Customers connect via electronic networking and marketing because they need a service that can be done from anywhere. Examples: Contractors or Freelancers who provide services such as programming, writing, research, transcriptions or virtual assistance… to name just a few.
The roots of Legitimate Opportunities to Work from Home project are with clients asking ‘Are there legitimate opportunities to work from home?’ In digging deeper, what clients really wanted to know was ‘are there employment or contractor type opportunities that allow you to work from home’. So we set the scope for our research as employment or contractor/freelancer type opportunities that are legitimate.
To-date we have researched and validated over 70 opportunities for both employment from home and contracting, freelancing from home. Over the last six months more legitimate work from home jobs are showing up on the traditional job boards than ever before. Specialized job boards that focus on work from home are also available.
While the terms can be confusing, work at home, work from home, telecommuting, virtual work, SOHO (small office/home office), owner, contractor and more, there are common denominators. Work from home, regardless of what you call it, allows for flexibility for the worker and lower overhead costs for the company. That translates into retention of top talent and higher profits leading to business longevity. That’s a win/win in my books.
Work from Home Champion
Want to know more? Join Anne-Marie on July 23 or August 12 for a FREE introductory webinar: Legitimate Opportunities to Work from Home for Career Professionals. It’s not all scams! We’ve done the research and want to share it with you, so that you can share it with your clients.
When Josh Zweig and Chad Davis set out to start their business they envisioned a new type of chartered accountant – client relationship that eschewed the traditional image of a C.A. in favour of an accessible, tech able, friendly accountant.
Liveca.ca is the company they founded and is Canada’s first 100% paperless, online chartered accounting firm. The team at Liveca.ca work via Skype with clients to understand their business, their accounting needs and then tailor cloud based 100% secure accounting software and apps to support their clients.
As a Work from Home Champion I am always interested in the new management philosophy that comes with embracing the virtual business model. Josh was passionate when he spoke of the need for the C.A. image to change, as well as the shift from the culture of compliance to a culture of trust.
From his own experience, the culture of compliance, the mainstay of many traditional C.A. firms is actually driving top talent to leave. “Smart people leave.” He said. The best and the brightest in the traditional firms leave wanting control of their own schedule, location and most importantly trust.
Moving to a culture of trust is about becoming results based. “Things get done when you trust someone” says Josh. No longer focusing on issues of compliance is very liberating. It allows employees to focus on getting the work done. It also allows management to work on other things like strategic planning and business development instead of monitoring billing sheets. The client saves on overhead and gets the results they want, management gets to focus on the forest not the trees, and employees feel empowered to do their jobs. Powerful motivators for client and employee retention.
When asked if there were influences that helped to shape the business model Josh shared that Australia and New Zealand are much more advanced in embracing the virtual model. Josh also referenced the book Remote: Office not Required by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hanson the founders of 37signals.com (and Basecamp.com). A recommendation that I would echo.
So if you are a C.A. who enjoys the tech, can create rapport via Skype and demonstrate a commitment to clear communication, self-motivation, resourcefulness and interdependence then why not trade in the business suit for jeans and a t-shirt? That’s the dress code at Liveca.ca – it says so right on their site.
If you want to know more of the backstory on this innovative company, please visit http://www.liveca.ca.
Work from Home Champion
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