I put my book down and glanced at my phone. It’s three in the afternoon and no notifications from work. I smile.
The smell of fresh roasted coffee and books drifts through the air. I take a deep breath and relax. Picking up the book again, I dove back into the world in my hands.
It was an ordinary Wednesday autumn afternoon. But instead of being in an office, I decided to spend it reading at the Barnes & Nobles a few blocks from my apartment.
But it wasn’t just any Wednesday. It was my weekly work from home Wednesday.
Working from Home is Freedom
At the time, I was working at a large, 300,000 member global Fortune 500 company. It was, in every sense, a corporate job.
My team had a loose work from home policy based on trust. As long as you had on site commitments and can get your work done it didn’t matter where you did your work.
I loved this policy.
Why? Because I loved the unparalleled freedom to work wherever I wanted. I started working from home once a week, which soon became two or three days a week.
Why? Because I loved the unparalleled freedom to work wherever I wanted, whenever I wanted.
If your company has a work from home policy, you should give it a try. Don’t believe me? Here are four reasons working from home will change your life.
4 Reasons Why Working from Home is Better Than Sliced Bread (without the crusts)
1) You can use your time more effectively
If you’re in the office, you commit to being in a physical space for eight hours between nine to five, not including your commute time. It doesn’t matter if you finish your work early or if it’s a quiet day at the office. You’re stuck there.
This means that you have little incentive to finish your work quickly and efficiently. Even if you have a small amount of work to do for the day, you will pace yourself and use up the entire eight hours.
Instead of finishing your work and doing other important things, here’s what happens (in no particular order):
- Work a little
- Facebook a little
- Work a little
- Text a little
- Work a little
- YouTube a little
Meanwhile, your kitchen sink is filled with dirty dishes and your laundry is still in your washer.
If the bulk of your job is done on a computer, there shouldn’t be any reason why you need to be in the office every day. Especially if you’re not utilizing the entire 8 hours for work-related tasks.
2) Work in your optimal environment at your optimal time
The truth is, not everyone enjoys working in a cubicle during daylight hours. Some people love working in the morning in bed wearing pajamas. Others love working in front of a TV late at night.
When you work from home you have freedom to decide what helps you deliver your best work.
Your best work is what’s important for your employer. So start off by working from home one day a week and show your boss you are just as productive when you work from home.
3) You create distance and build trust
As animals, we have an innate desire to roam free. We love to be challenged and to allow our creativity to run wild.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, is a work environment where your boss may become used to micro-managing everything you do.
Work from home is an opportunity to create a healthy distance that breeds trust between team members.
When you work from home, you need to be ultra-communicative. Let your boss know when you’ll get things done and send him or her an update at the end of the day listing everything you completed.
When you follow through on the things you say you’ll do, you build credibility and trust. That’s when micro-managing will be replaced by trust.
As a bonus, you can curse loudly with no repercussions if you get another email from your boss telling you to use a hyphen instead of a comma.
4) You are rewarded for being productive
Similar to the first point, but working from home especially rewards productive people. If you finish your work quickly, you actually earn time for yourself.
A recent study found that free time is more important to happiness than money.
In my example at the beginning, I was able to go read in a bookstore because I finished my work for the day. Granted, I had all of my work materials with me in case something came up.
Playing the Work from Home Game
If you’re not doing it already, propose the idea of working from home
If your company does not have a work-from-home policy and the bulk of your job can be done on a computer, you should ask to work-from-home one day.
When you work from home, make sure you are
- Within a phone call or email away at all times
- On top of your schedule
- Overcommunicate with your coworkers
You need to make sure that you are always available during work hours. In case something hits the fan and they need your help, you need to be within a phone call or email away at all times.
Basically, you want people to feel like sending you this image throughout the day because you’re doing such a swell job:
The premise of working from home is that you can be as productive out of office as you are in office. So you need to maintain the same level of professionalism in both scenarios.
You should never miss a deadline and always overcommunicate with your peers. Let them know what you plan on getting done and send them an update at the end of the day with your progress. Double-check deadlines and meeting times.
You want everyone to know that they can count on you when you work from home.
Based on how much you enjoy working from home, adjust your schedule accordingly
If you like the experience of working from home, slowly increase the number of times you do so. You can point to your increased productivity and your happiness as justification. If you don’t enjoy it, just don’t do it.
In most jobs the most you can push is to work from home two or three days a week but you’ll never know unless you try. Ask and you shall receive.
There’s no downside in trying
Now that you made it to the bottom of the article, I’d encourage you to give working from home a try. Just follow the instructions above and you should be all set.
Godspeed. And share this with your friends. They’ll thank you.
*This article first appeared as a guest post on Prosky