The Joys of Working at Home

By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan

We often talk about call center agents working at home, but what about supervisors and managers? Though I now write about the industry instead of working in it, I believe management can work at home, too.

For the past fifteen years, I’ve worked at home. The benefits are many: no commute time or expense, no dress code, no need to pack a lunch or go out to eat, and no bored coworkers dropping by to chat. Working at home enables me to accomplish much more in less time. I love it.

For some people, though, working at home presents challenges. Distractions abound, there is no one to hold them accountable, the refrigerator is readily available when a craving hits, and they can take a nap if they get tired. Some work-at-home employees work in their pajamas. It’s also impossible to leave work and go home, since they’re already there.

Successfully working at home requires self-control. We need discipline to work when we’re supposed to (and to not work when we’re not supposed to) in order to approach each day with the same professionalism we would in an office and say “no” to distractions.

When our children were younger, I set a firm rule: Between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Daddy’s working, so don’t go into his office. Their mother, however, claimed immunity to this rule. After a while I made one adjustment: I’d take a short break when they came home from school. They’d share their day with me, often with excitement and sometimes in despair. Eight hours of highlights spewed forth in seconds. Then they’d finish and head off to do their own thing, and I’d return to work. When their mother came home, the school day’s headlines were forgotten. She’d ask how their day went, and they’d just shrug.

My first office had no windows. My current one does, which sometimes provides a distraction. Once I watched four bunnies frolicking outside – and then took the time to blog about them. Another time a caller said she heard birds. My window was open – and though I had tuned out their happy songs, my headset did not.

Can you work at home? It’s possible to make it work – if you want to.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is the publisher and editor-in-chief of AnswerStat. He’s a passionate wordsmith whose goal is to change the world one word at a time.

[From AnswerStat—June/July 2015]