In this video, Dave Crenshaw discusses the joy and challenge of working from home, pointing out how each strength has a weakness.
- I've coached a variety of leaders, managers, and employees around the world. A good portion of them work from home. I've personally worked from home and loved it for close to 20 years. Most of those who work from home, when asked if they would rather go back to working in an office, prefer to stay at home. However, they will also admit that there are some very specific challenges that come along with working remotely. I believe the benefits and the challenges all revolve around one word, freedom.
Every positive element of freedom that accompanies working at home also has an accompanying challenge. For example, when working from home I have the freedom to establish my own schedule. However, that freedom also has the twin challenges of either not working as much as I should because of the freedom to play and relax, or working longer hours than I should because of the lack of the cultural reinforcement of coworkers leaving in the evening.
If I have family members at home, I have the freedom to spend time with them and to help them. However, that freedom can also be a source of continual distractions while at home. I have the freedom from a daily commute. But that lack of a commute also makes it harder for me to transition mentally to and from work. I may continue to work at home after hours, because I cannot stop thinking about work.
The solution to every one of these challenges of freedom is to create boundaries. That may sound restrictive, but the beautiful thing about these boundaries is that you're the one who's going to create them. I'm not going to tell you when to stop work. I'm not going to tell you how to do your work. Instead, we'll explore options and perspectives to consider. But in the end you are in control. Think of these boundaries that you are going to create as the rules of the road.
Just as rules of driving allow people to reach their destination, but keep everyone safe at the same time, boundaries about working from home help you be more productive but also avoid the pitfalls of too much freedom. You are in the best position to know how to help yourself stay productive. Because you understand this about yourself, you are the one who should create these boundaries. I will guide you in the process. Yet with every boundary that you set, every system that you and I put in place, everything is your choice.
Nothing you and I do together will take away from your freedom. Instead, we'll make the most of that freedom by finding a work-from-home strategy that keeps you protected and productive.
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- Create a productive environment by limiting distractions.
- Evaluate and choose the best technology to increase your productivity.
- Differentiate between constant effort and a healthy working rhythm.
- Define expectations around communication while remaining responsive.
- Identify the benefits of relationship building.
- Learn how to manage interruptions and emergencies at home.