Looking To Start A Working From Home Job

Skeptical bosses will likely have their doubts re-enforced by the same survey, which shows that 43 percent of workers say they’ve watched TV or a movie while “working” remotely, while 35 percent have done household chores, and 28 percent have cooked dinner.

Physical proximity might not be necessary for much work, but it does remain a hard-to-replace deterrent against The Price Is Right while on the clock.

My experience working primarily from home for an extended period several years back was that it’s a surprisingly efficient way to drive yourself insane. The need to make petty decisions-where to work, which chair to sit in, should I even bother to get out of bed, do I need to be wearing shoes right now-became overwhelming. I’d spend completely unreasonable amounts of time wondering what to do for lunch, and while working on a book dedicated a surprising amount of energy to meeting my self-imposed daily word quota in time to catch movie matinees.

But there is also a compelling case to make that working at home makes people much more efficient, because it allows workers to take care of annoying little chores while still getting their jobs done. Remote working-at least occasional remote working-can be great precisely because of the opportunity it affords to get a certain amount of non-work stuff done. It’s much faster to shop for groceries at a quarter to three than to stand in line during the after-work rush. Far too many people work similar schedules and want to eat dinner at dinnertime. My neighborhood supermarket turns into a nightmare from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday late afternoon, another popular shopping time, is even worse, with the aisles often featuring Soviet-style shortages of key commodities. If you just start working a bit earlier (no commute, after all) and pop by the store during a lull when lines are short, you can get both more work and more shopping done in a fixed amount of time. Even better, if more people did that, then shift workers with genuinely inflexible schedules might also be spared some line pain.

And telecommuting allows you to tackle household tasks that take up a lot of time but don’t actually involve much work. Watching laundry spin in your washer or dryer is perfectly compatible with productive work. But between the washing step and the drying step comes a time-sensitive “put the wet clothing in the drier” phase. Taking just a few minutes off from work to do the swap lets you get the chore done efficiently, and leaves your actual leisure time free for exciting activities like leaving the house. Many recipes, similarly, involve considerable periods of simmering or roasting during which it’s good to be around the house but you don’t actually have to do anything. In a “work-then-shop-then-cook-then-eat” paradigm, it’s challenging to eat anything that can’t be made quickly. But if you can simmer while you work, then a lot of household labor can be accomplished with minimal reduction in professional output.

The fact that such practices remain officially taboo reflects how far we haven’t come as a society from the days when we expected every full-time professional to be backstopped by a full-time homemaker.

Are You Satisfied With Where You Work?

First let us look at three factors that determine satisfaction with your work situation, the company, your boss, and your personal goals.

With the company, the first thing that comes to mind is its name and reputation. Is it respected in the industry that it is in? Google and Apple are the big names in tech. Merck and Pfizer are the big names in pharmaceuticals. Mercedes and Volvo are respected names in Auto. Allstate and GEICO are the most prevalent names in insurance. So what makes for a good company beyond its name? Factors to be considered: clear mission statement, strong corporate governance and ethics, solid performer in the industry, good support system and strong working culture with respected peers. Pride in the company is important for you to be an effective employee for you are the face of the company. Good companies are transparent of what they are doing and how they are performing. Another characteristic is that they care enough of their employees by offering good benefits such as health and a matching 401K plan. If you work for a public company, how is it view by the market? Performance and public perception is reflected in its stock price.

Second is your manager. One of the biggest reasons why people leave their jobs is because of the person that they work for. In defense of managers to start off with, people who are put in these positions are never formally trained to manage people. It is a position that requires empathy and emotional intelligence, which last time I checked, is not tested for when one is being considered for promotion. Usually promotions are handed down because you are the most qualified of all the applicants that have demonstrated great ability to do your current job and projected to do the next level job successfully. In a lot of cases if you are favorably viewed by upper management, you would be a front-runner in getting the position regardless of whether you can be a good manager or not.

There are managers that are a natural in motivating and getting the most out of their direct reports while there are others that are not. Usually the “inferior” manager will be more concerned about how they are perceived by upper management and will work to build positive perception rather than maximize the performance of the group. This type of manager also will be the type to “throw people under the bus” to deflect any wrongdoing on their part.

The other major issue that inferior managers are guilty of is not holding bad performers accountable. In a group setting, it is not unreasonable to expect that everyone is carrying their weight and compensated accordingly. It is not unusual to have a disparity in performers that are not up to par. The biggest sin that can happen is when the manager does not take action in correcting this. If it is not, then unfairness comes into play and sometimes there is an imbalance in workload because the manager shifts the essential work to performers and lets the non-performer slide. This is doubly worse when the non-performer is not acted on and gets the same compensation as the performer. This is an ingredient for dissatisfaction.

The third and last factor is your personal situation. Many factors come into play in determining what keeps an employee happy. Employees must feel that they are equitably compensated for their job based on performance and experience. A motivated employee should feel that they are contributing to the goals of the group and the company. Opportunities must exist for upward movement and not let the individual feel stagnant in their position.

Other factors that may come into play are work location, drive to get more education, or shifting life goals.

With work location being closer to family is a strong motivator for moving or keeping you at your current position. It is not unusual that one would give up the opportunity to gain higher compensation if it means that they would have to relocate away from your family. Perhaps your priority is more in emphasizing family rather than advance your career.