The question is not whether or not working remote is actual work, but more so, is it working out for me?
Again, the thoughts contained here are not based on anything except my own experience. So if you decide to take a job working from home and it does not work out, you cannot blame me.
If you want the short answer, then yes, I think it is working for me. Not to say I wasn’t worried, especially after spending three weeks down at the Castle. Spend a few days working with a mall full of fellow Rackers, and you will quickly understand why so many people want to work for Rackspace. Work there for a few weeks knowing that you will be working from over 200 miles away from your co-workers, and you will start to doubt whether or not the whole remote idea is worth it.
Starting out, I most likely expected things to be different than what they are. I thought it would be hard to keep my office door closed, but thanks to my great wife and awesome son, that is not the case. I thought it would be hard to stay focused, but thanks to the amount of work that needs to be done and the volume of work, that definitely has not been an issue. Quite the opposite, in fact. I thought that if I was out of site, I would be out of mind, at least as far as my co-workers are concerned. Again, not the case. In fact, the thoughtfulness of my co-workers has probably been one of the best experiences. I mean, how many times have you had a pizza just show up on your doorstep because some guys 200 miles away didn’t want you to feel left out? Probably not many.
Some of this is getting into the things I want to talk about in the next post, but they were worth mentioning.
Here is the deal: if you are reading this post because you are thinking about working remotely, there are definitely some things to consider, at least with regards to you personally.
How is your work ethic?
If you are a slacker, or if it is hard to stay focused, then working remotely may not be the best option.
Are you going to make an effort?
I am not talking about making an effort at work, but more so, are you going to make an effort to be part of the team, no matter how far away you are? We have all heard the saying that a team is only as good as its weakest link, and the key to working remotely is to make sure that you are not the weakest link. You have to be an asset, otherwise, why would the company let you work remote?
Can you close the door?
This doesn’t even have to be a physical door. But are you going to be able to put aside the distractions that come in to play working from home. On one hand it is easier to concentrate because you don’t have the water cooler chats, but on the other, it can be just as hard to avoid playing with your son, even though he is in the next room. You have to be able to distinguish between the time to work, and the time to play. And so does your family. (L & W: y’all are aweseome!)
Are you visible?
You are going to have to make sure that people know what you are doing. Even if you are the most humble of individuals, you have to step up in some way. Put your neck out there a bit, and then follow through. Make sure everyone knows that you are there, and that you are adding value. Again, if you add no value, then is there any reason to have you on board?
Hopefully these questions will give you something to consider, or provide a little bit of insight. One of the hardest things to overcome when it involves working remotely are misconceptions, and not just your own, but those of others. At RIP a fellow newbie asked from where I was going to be working, and when I told him “From home.” he chuckled and said “Good luck.” Not exactly the best of encouragment, but it is telling. My experiences may not translate over to yours, and vice versa. The truth is that you may not be able to know if you can work remotely until you try it, but you have got to be honest with yourself and with your company. If it’s not working, then you probably need to do something about it.