By Bob Gold­man

Us­ing the re­mote: Home of­fic­ing

Houston Chronicle Sunday - - BUSINESS - Bob Gold­man was an ad­ver­tis­ing ex­ec­u­tive at a For­tune 500 com­pany, but he fi­nally wised up and opened Bob Gold­man Fi­nan­cial Plan­ning in Sausal­ito, Cal­i­for­nia. He now works out of Belling­ham, Wash­ing­ton. He of­fers a vir­tual shoul­der to cry on at [email protected]­plan

The Gallup Poll wouldn’t lie to you. Ac­cord­ing to Gallup, 43 per­cent of peo­ple in Amer­ica’s work­force are not at their desks to­day, but they are work­ing. They’re work­ing from home. From cof­fee shops. From RVs pic­turesquely nes­tled among the al­li­ga­tors in the Oke­feno­kee Swamp.

Yes, work­ing re­motely has be­come a huge deal. If you are still drag­ging your­self to an of­fice ev­ery morn­ing, you are fairly out­dated. Or are you?

As a re­moter, you can work in your pa­ja­mas and, of course, crank up Mo­tor­head loud enough to rat­tle the shut­ters, and cer­tainly, you can take a break any time you like to raid the re­frig­er­a­tor or spend the en­tire af­ter­noon play­ing a video game. You are also freed from tir­ing com­mutes. Imag­ine how good life could be when your en­tire com­mute con­sists of get­ting out of bed and get­ting right back in. Only now it’s not your bed. It’s your home of­fice. But work­ing re­motely is not all but­ter­flies and but­ter­cups. How are you go­ing to do good work when your su­per­vi­sor can no longer walk down the hall to of­fer in­stant and con­stant su­per­vi­sion?

On the other hand, con­sid­er­ing that your su­per­vi­sor and your su­per­vi­sor’s su­per­vi­sor may be work­ing re­motely, as well, there is a very real chance that the com­pany could for­get you even ex­ist.

This is def­i­nitely an ad­van­tage, un­til the pay­checks stop com­ing.

In 3 Things That Will Make You Suc­cess­ful As A Re­mote Worker, Forbes con­trib­u­tor William Ar­ruda con­firms that work­ing from home has its own set of prob­lems and per­ils. If you do de­cide to go re­mote, Ar­ruda said, this will re­quire “a dif­fer­ent mind­set and new set of ex­pec­ta­tions.” Here are three:

1. Up­date your def­i­ni­tion of pro­fes­sional com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

Work­ing re­motely can be lonely, and Ar­ruda said that you will ben­e­fit emo­tion­ally by us­ing tech­nol­ogy to cre­ate “a vir­tual wa­ter cooler for rapid-fire, fun chitchat be­tween team mem­bers thanks to cus­tom emo­jis.”

For­get profits. En­cour­ag­ing fun chitchat is the No. 1 goal of your com­pany.

2. De­fend your­self against in­er­tia.

If you have trou­ble stay­ing on task, “pro­tect your­self with a bar­rier of self-dis­ci­pline fos­tered by smart work-at-home habits.”

One good idea is to sched­ule a set time for non-work tasks, and keep to it. As au­thor Ar­ruda said, “it’s OK to set aside some time oc­ca­sion­ally to toss laun­dry into the wash­ing ma­chine or take the dog for a 15-minute power walk.”

The dan­ger of not set­ting a spe­cific time for per­sonal ac­tiv­i­ties is that work can mush­room into a 24/7 ob­ses­sion. If you find your­self toss­ing the dog in the wash­ing ma­chine and tak­ing your laun­dry for a 15-minute power walk, you’ve def­i­nitely gone too far.

3. Sur­round your­self with sup­port to avoid lone­li­ness.

About one-fifth of telecom­muters say they feel lonely. To com­bat neg­a­tive feel­ings, take a bold step: Get a gold­fish.

A gold­fish makes a won­der­ful com­pan­ion for a re­mote worker be­cause it’s al­ways ready to sym­pa­thize with your sad sit­u­a­tion or gos­sip about the tiny fish-tank frog­man trea­sure hunter bub­bling away in the bot­tom of the bowl.

Al­ter­na­tively, you can “oc­ca­sion­ally work out of a cof­fee shop, lo­cal co-work­ing space, or an­other hotspot where re­mote work­ers like to hang out.”

“Sta­tis­tics in­di­cate that re­mote work­ing is on the up­swing,” Ar­ruda said. He’s right. Not hav­ing to pro­vide of­fice space for work­ers saves com­pa­nies a bunch. Who cares if you go a lit­tle batty work­ing alone if it helps the bot­tom line?

Be­sides, mak­ing your­self com­fort­able, work­ing re­motely will be use­ful if you get fired. Fun­nily enough, the ex­act same skills for work­ing re­motely are re­quired for not work­ing re­motely.

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Work­ing from home, you are freed from tir­ing com­mutes. Imag­ine how good life could be when your com­mute con­sists of get­ting out of bed and get­ting right back in. Only now it’s not your bed. It’s your home of­fice.

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