When someone first finds out I work from home I get a snarky comment. To them I’m a work from home slacker. I have it easy, work in my p.j.’s watching Netflix all day. I have news for you – Not all who work from home are slackers.
This New Yorker post is truly funny. It acts out a fake 911 conversation with a guy who works from home, hasn’t showered, eats non-stop, is easily distracted and watched YouTube videos all day.
Suddently it hits me. That article describes what others envision as a typical day for me.
Am I a Work From Home Slacker?
Work should not be defined by my work location. What matters are the results. Do I get done what I plan? Yes, yes I do.
Some days I accomplish everything on the plan. Other days I struggle. But overall I am more productive at home than I ever was in the office. And as a bonus, I’m happier. That’s why I advocate going remote.
Work From Home Slacker Ingredients
Creative productivity includes more than the right location. It needs the right mix of four ingredients: where, what, why, and how – of work.
The ‘where’ ingredient is all about selecting the best environment. What will facilitate productivity? Part of this is determined by individual preference. I work best in a quiet, personal space with limited distractions. You may prefer working in a high energy location with the buzz of activity around you. An open office or even a busy coffee shop may be your ideal location. Whatever your preference, this is your default location. But it is not always your best location.
The type of work (the ‘what’ ingredient) has direct impact on the ‘where.’ The results you need to accomplish may influence your ability to work in your preferred location. If I need to collaborate with a teammate on a project, I may choose to go to their location and work face-to-face. If you prefer a busy office, you may need to change locations if conducting a private interview.
Another factor that influences location: resources. You need access to the tools and resources necessary for successful completion of your work. Pair your ‘where’ and ‘what’ appropriately.
Even if you are in your ideal location and have all you need, you may still succumb to distractions (meerkat videos.) You need to have the right motivation – the right ‘why’. If you find yourself taking a walk to the break room, stopping by a co-workers desk to chat, or surfing the internet (yes, the internet is everywhere – not just home), you may not have a strong enough why.
Yes, it is easier to slack off at home because no one is watching over your shoulder. But we all have clever ways of deceiving the office look-out.
The secret to avoiding the work from home slacker tragedy is your own personal ‘how.’ Each of us has a unique collection of skills, habits, behaviors and a certain self-efficacy. These help us get things done even when no one in watching.
If I don’t get done what I plan, I only have myself to blame.
The challenge we all have is to get the right balance of the Where – What – Why – and How of our work. Remember: not all who work from home are slackers, and not all slackers work from home.