Working from Home. Is It Just a Dream?

The sound of the alarm reaches your brain and you open one eye to look at the clock in the gray light that announces the coming of morning.  Groaning inwardly (perhaps outwardly too) you mentally calculate just exactly how much time you really need to get ready for work and hit the snooze button…again. The next time the alarm sounds you reluctantly detach yourself from the warm blankets and trudge to the bathroom to grudgingly start your morning routine.  Due to multiple snoozes on the alarm, you have no time to fix what appears to be your worst hair day ever, so you pull it up with a clip. Thank god for the messy bun being acceptable these days!

You eye the closet with dismay remembering that you were really supposed to do laundry last night, but overtime at the office and your killer commute left you barely enough time to eat something while mindlessly watching TV before going to bed. Rolling your eyes, you grab the ‘laundry day’ work outfit and spend way too much time trying to find the one pair of shoes you have that go with it.  At this point it’s too late for breakfast, you’ll just have to grab a coffee on the way. Except the drive-thru at Dunkin Donuts is backed up and you notice your gas gauge is on empty.  You settle for a full tank of gas and a cup of burnt coffee from 7-Eleven, grimacing both at the coffee and at the thought of what is waiting for you on your desk at work.

Does this sound at all familiar?  This was how too many of my mornings went 10 years ago. Now let’s look at a different scenario.

You open your eyes to sunlight streaming through the window blinds.  Taking a deep breath of contentment, you hop out of bed and make your way to the kitchen for a cup of coffee and a quick breakfast. Cradling the hot cup in your hands you settle into your favorite comfy chair and catch a little bit of the morning news. Once your coffee is finished you get dressed in your favorite jeans and a soft, well-worn t-shirt, make your bed, throw a load of laundry in the washer, grab a second cup of coffee and head for work…in the next room.  You settle yourself in at your desk, your cat curled up at your feet and begin your day.

This is how I begin my mornings now.  Which way would you rather start your work day? I’m willing to bet you’d prefer the second scenario, am I right?

It used to be that the dream of working from home was just that…a dream. A fantasy that often-prompted people to sign up for envelope stuffing and ridiculous piecework that never could fulfill the promise of truly making a living from home.  Thankfully times change.  Online technology has advanced to the point where just about any office job can be done remotely. In fact, more and more employers are giving employees the option of working from home at least some of the time. Sadly, not all employers understand the benefits of allowing their employees to work from home. Sadder still, many employers are failing to take advantage of online technology to make their businesses run smoother and more efficiently.  If your employer falls into one of the latter categories, do you have to give up on the dream of starting your mornings the way I do?

Absolutely not.

You have options.

The first option is to approach your boss about adopting online tech and adding the ability to work from home to your job description.  Of course, with this option you need to present it in such a way that it focuses on the positive impact it will have on the business. You can start out with the following facts about allowing employees to work from home.

  1. It reduces absences and increases productivity
  2. It can save money (allowing employees to work from home is saving some business up to $10,000 per employee per year)
  3. It allows companies a larger, talented pool of options when looking to add additional employees because the business is not tied to a certain location
  4. It results in happier employees and superior long-term business performance
  5. Share some of the names on this Top 100 List of businesses that offer work from home jobs.

If your boss isn’t sold on the full-time work from home concept, discuss a part-time option where you work a few days in the office and a few days at home each week.  Or start out slowly with making it an option to work from home on storm days, school holidays and when you have sick children.  Once they see that the work gets done at the same level or above discuss expanding the work from home option.

The second option is to become your own boss.  Starting your own one person micro-business based on your skills and experience is a very real option.  Virtual assistants and other virtual service providers have become a legitimate part of the workforce; one that many businesses rely on. The freelance economy is booming, with businesses enjoying the new-found freedom to find individuals with the perfect skill set to fill their needs.  Of course, working for oneself is totally different than remotely working for an employer, so be sure you are aware of the differences before quitting your job and hanging your shingle.

If option two is your preferred choice, taking a course like my bestselling, “How to Work From Home as a Virtual Assistant” course can give you detailed information on how to start and run a virtual services business.  The title indicated it’s for Virtual Assistants, but the information is valid and usable for any virtual services type business. Bonus: the course is on sale through Mother’s Day at ½ price!  If option one is your best shot and you want to offer your boss a little help with adopting online tech, be sure to let him know that Clerical Advantage can assist them with sifting through the options and choosing what might be best for them, and ultimately for you and your dream of working from home.

In any case, don’t give up on turning hectic, crazy mornings into calm, productive ones. Make your dream a reality.

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