The saying “never work for free” – “no permanent job” – applies in many ways, but it also can apply to loneliness and the feeling of isolation as more and more Americans work from home. No matter the size of your work team, the more time people work at home, the less time they spend face-to-face with their friends and family.
The ease and convenience of working from home made this possible but has also led to a loss of basic human connections in our culture and given people the choice to spend more time alone than ever before.
We all need a little balance in our lives, and doing what we love and cultivating relationships, in our chosen careers, are both essential to personal happiness and building a strong company.
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If more and more people decide to spend less time with family and friends on the side, it doesn’t spell the end of work, but if you’re a believer in financial freedom, you might wonder whether there’s a way to take control of how you spend your time without holding yourself back or jeopardizing your company.
It all depends on a few factors, of course. First, take a look at the question: can you be a successful executive, owner or executive at your company if you’re working from home?
If the answer is yes, then it may be time to reconsider your work situation and explore some ideas to improve your company work life.
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Here are some ideas:
Hold office hours. There’s nothing more meaningful than having a face to face meeting with an individual — whether that person is a client, prospective client or business associate — and face-to-face conversation is a great way to learn about someone and hear their story.
Create opportunities for informal meetings in your office or nearby restaurant. You might have a luncheon with employees, a team meeting or an informal speech to the staff on a given issue.
Organize lunchtime team meetings. Have lunch and discussion times on a regular basis for each department. Each team member should participate by sending out a team request for participation. This might include a recording of a conversation, such as you two talking about the last time you worked together and what you liked or disliked about the role.
Plan other informal social occasions with your company in your office or restaurants around town. If you do this, you are demonstrating value to the employees you work with.
Encourage phone calls or video conferences. When you have a video conference with a client, be sure to introduce yourself to each person you meet. Start with a smile and just a warm handshake. After meeting with a colleague, smile and introduce yourself to that person.
You can still keep up contact with your relatives even if you work at home. Speak with them on a regular basis. Make sure to keep in touch and acknowledge a telephone conversation, any call or visit or make sure you don’t miss out on any birthday or holiday gathering.
Hold a monthly work, life, home review. If employees do not have their work and life on the same page, it can create stress and create confusion about the way they should live their lives. An annual review is not necessarily beneficial, but if you have a review scheduled, make sure employees take advantage of it. Take a few minutes during the review to understand each other’s needs and to go over goals for the following year. Ask employees whether they think they could keep up with a professional job life together.
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Never work alone. Never work for free. Yes, you can work from home, but if you do, your family and friends might question your priorities. If you never stop to think about that or just let others’ judgments sway your decision, you run the risk of becoming a burden. The more you think of your own safety and well-being, the less you’ll need your boss and your company to help you.
I’m still an executive, but this isn’t just for my career. I spend many waking hours reading, listening to audio books and watching and listening to countless videos. It’s all about the pursuit of what I truly love and about giving back to the community.
I would rather spend the bulk of my day with my grandkids than sitting at my desk. It’s a choice that I would regret if I made it right now, but I wouldn’t regret it later.