Pedro is a Technology consultant, former CIO, former DoD & DARPA contractor, natural alternative medicine and ancient history researcher, former U.S. Army paratrooper, active seeker of the truth in Jesus the Christ.

“You’re either part of the solution or you’re part of the problem.”

 

Start Working From Home Today

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Home Office

Photo: My office very early in the morning

Getting into the elevator at the office, a co-worker tells me, –“Hey, have you been? I haven’t seen you in a while.”  I can’t help not to chuckle and responded, “Yes I know.  I haven’t heard from you in a long time, so I’m guessing your computer is running smoothly.”

See, I manage an IT department (among other things) that takes care of users in a couple of offices, a handful of travelers and oversees multiple projects.  If users have trouble you’ll hear all about it like it’s the end of the world.  When things are running smoothly, months can go by and if you don’t stumble with them at the office kitchen or a meeting, you’ll never know they are still working for the company.

Please, remember this: when you don’t see the members of your company’s IT department, it is often because you don’t need them.  That most likely means they are doing a good job.  By the way, Information Technology, especially in a helpdesk support environment, can be one of the most thankless jobs that exist, along with Human Resources.  But that could be a topic for another blog.

Working 75% remotely on average, mostly from my home office, has taught me one thing; working remotely is the future of desk jobs, but it is not for everyone.  It has many advantages, such as:

  • been able to concentrate on work without office distractions
  • save on gas and lunch
  • help keep a clean environment
  • avoid getting the flu from co-workers
  • avoid useless meetings
  • avoid fire alarm drills
  • drink better coffee
  • can pet the cat at any time (I mean that literally, perverts)
  • and most important, safe the company some bones (money)

Did you know that most medium to large size companies spend an average of $4 per employee every week on toiletries, coffee, tea, napkins, etc.?

Working remotely has also some disadvantages, such as:

  • missing on free coffee, lunches and company happy hours
  • actually, that’s all I can think of…

“Communicate unto the other person that which you would want him to communicate unto you if your positions were reversed.” — Aaron Goldman

“Communication, communication, communication;” that is the single most important act to follow if you want to start working from home more often.  You have to have established a good work ethics record and a clear reputation that you are able to manage your time and workload. But most important you need to communicate and let your peers, team members and your boss know what your tasks and expectations are.  I’m going to share with you what has worked for me.

I have two lists of things I want or need to accomplish; one is named the “Year Initiatives,” which I keep in an Excel spreadsheet.  The other one is named “Weekly Tasks;” that one I keep between my little notebook for handwritten stuff and Microsoft Office SharePoint’s Team Task webpart.   You can use Outlook Tasks, Gmail, a white board; it really doesn’t matter.  Simply use the tool that works for you.

Let say today is Thursday.  I’m already looking at the tasks that I’ve scheduled to be accomplished this week, writing down which ones need follow-ups and cross-referencing those against the year’s initiatives.  Now I want to report to my boss and team the progress so far for the week.  You do not want to wait for Friday, unless you want to spend Friday and possibly the weekend addressing things missed or last-minute changes.  So I start creating the list for next week and assigning team members to accomplish those, including myself.

On Monday morning when I’m meeting with my boss and most teams, I present them with a realistic agenda already prepared and under control.  I make it easy for them to see the progress on the yearly tasks.  When that happens, there is very little input from them, and that makes meetings a lot shorter.

Everyone feels confident that I took care of everything.  No one is guessing whether I go play golf (I don’t golf by the way) or actually work when working from remotely as long as you keep a transparent communication with everyone involved.  You can’t question results, especially when they surpass expectations.

There are a few things that watch out for.  Now that you are making things look easy, it is possible for the management to assume that they can just hire someone else to do what you do for less; that of course, depends on the company and the relationship you have with your boss.

On a future blog post, I’ll share with you some cool tools and awesome techniques for remote workers.

Now, I want you go and propose to work from home on Fridays from here on, following the approach I’ve laid out for you.  Please, share your feedback and let me know how things go.  Oh, and don’t forget to hug your IT guy…