‘Things about my job I’m thankful for’ — top vote-getters
For many, the option — or requirement — to work from home makes a huge difference in how much they appreciate their job. Whether it’s the avoidance of a long, stressful commute, the convenience of being closer to family members or the chance to focus on the tasks at hand instead of being bothered by office gossip, it’s usually a top vote-getter in any “things about my job I’m thankful for” survey.
“I began working from home six years ago and I have to say it has been a lifesaver,” says Charlotte O’Connor, an in-house sales rep for a large pharmaceutical company in Cleveland. “I was at the end of my rope going into work every day and dealing with not only the office politics but also an awful commute so I asked my boss if I could work from home two days a week and she actually told me that she was planning on asking me if I wanted to work from home five days a week, so of course, I jumped at the chance.”
O’Connor says her work-from-home setting, a modified closet that’s been transformed into a small office, is perfect. “I don’t like clutter and I don’t like noise so it’s perfect,” she says. “I still come into the office a couple days a month but my company decided to downsize from two floors to one floor in our building since we had too much space and it turns out that my timing was perfect.”
While some work-from-home employees crave conversation, others are happy to be separated from their co-workers, especially those co-workers who may be — let’s just say — lacking — when it comes to the appropriate skillset. “Working from home with decent pay — of course, it could always be better — generally offsets the daily negative corporate office environment and face-to-face interaction with incompetent co-workers,” says a Michigan-based sales manager, who shares O’Connor’s sentiment.
For Kurt Watson, the realities of working from home means that he puts in more hours — “I feel like I’m always on the clock,” says the 31-year-old staff accountant for a Boston catering company — but that does little to dampen his appreciation for his new working environment. Watson says now that he works from home, he gets to spend more time with his newborn sons. “We had twins in July,” Watson says. “I can hold them while I work, keep an eye on them while they nap and just enjoy being around them. My favorite things is to rest my laptop between the two cribs and use it as a standing desk.”
Watson says his wife, a graphic designer, also works from home so it’s easy to handle double duty when one of them has to deal with an issue that requires total concentration. “It’s more her than me,” Watson says. “Sometimes she’s so into finalizing a project that I’ll take the boys out for a walk or a drive. When she’s in that mode and someone starts fussing or crying, she gives me looks that kill. But I like my drives and walks with the boys — OK, not in the winter so much — and I can usually make a phone call and get things done, so it works out well for me, too.”
Watson says he and his wife realize that their current setup won’t always work. “Once the twins start asking for things, once they want to keep busy, we’ll have to re-evaluate all of this since it will be impossible to get things done with four of us here, but we’ll see. For now, I’m very thankful I get to do this with the people I love.”
And he says the optics can’t be beat. “About an hour ago, I had to get my charger out of our room and my wife was cuddling with the boys and our dog on the bed — and she was doing it while she was on her Bluetooth and sketching on her iPad,” he says. “When am I ever going to see stuff like that at work when I’m back in an office? I mean, it’s wonderful.”
For many, the option — or requirement — to work from home makes a huge difference in how much they appreciate their job.