Working from home

You are home, ready for shut eye and an sms beeps in. The boss has fixed yet another non-negotiable deadline. What follows depends on how well you’ve adapted to the work from home culture which by all indications is here to stay. The original office model was so different says 39 year old lady. She works 15 hours a week from home for GiveIndia, an NGO.

So how do you make work from home for you? While discipline is the primary driver the trick is to stick to certain does and don’ts. Internalize them and you’re set on the growth path. A few years ago, a 37 year old mother of two began by taking up transcription jobs in Hindi, Punjabi, and English. Today, she has graduated to market analysis. All this, without steeping out of home for work

The biggest USP of the deal, other than being able to keep an eye on one’s personal life, is saving in travel time, not to mention expense. It takes me 30 seconds from bedroom to office, says a 44 year old wealth manager, with a laugh.

Laying down and sticking to a routine, therefore is a big must. A 40 year old freelance journalist makes it a point that no matter what, he must log in at 9 am and work without a break till 12 pm. These three hours are sacrosanct. It’s very easy to slip otherwise.

To get into the mood, the journalist always slips on his shirt and trousers. Without that, it still feels like breakfast time. The concept of working out of your nightie may sound romantic in books, but reality as they say is less colorful.

Most home employed say the hardest bit is switching to the work mode. It’s very tough not to watch TV and have friends drop in, because if you work from home, people think you’re not really working. One wouldn’t be able to work without a separate room.

A 53 year old marriage counselor has two phone lines, one each for personal and professional use. The personal line is off during work hours. In the beginning, it was hard. Now people have realized they can’t invade his work time… The other big distractions are the doorbell wallahs as a Mumbai writer points out, the doodhwallah, kachrawallah, istriwallah. After he strings an invisible DND sign outside my door, my house help takes over.

SSr avoids distractions by working when her kids are at school. During holidays, she makes them to do something while she works. The biggest challenge for women at least is working around needy, attention seeking children. It is definitely challenging to concentrate when kids are home, although her 13 year old teenaged son would be on his own. Her daughter is nine, works on her things alongside SS on her sofa. But what if the children are too young and keep knocking on the door? Well, hire help to keep them entertained. With time, they’ll get used to the routine.

K wishes she had another entrance to her home too. It stops her from expanding because she only hires people she can trust with my whole house, not just office work. Also, there are other areas of concern like getting an NOC from her housing society. Being a counselor who works from home can be tricky.

Personal security is important because of the kind of people you bring home. There is a large degree of transference involved in counseling. In other words, people tend to get attached to counselor screen the people who come home and always take them with a reference. He always verifies with the doctor or divorce lawyer who sends them across.

Contrary to belief, flouncing off for the day is not as easy as it would seem. There is the temptation to check the mail one last time. But he tries pretty hard not to respond. But it’s no different than people who leave office and have their Blackberry buzzing. A little self control wouldn’t hurt.