Thursday, February 19, 2009

Working from home

I was up at 3AM this morning and it wasn't insomnia. I had fallen asleep on the recliner in our family room the night before and finally managed to slide off it and head to bed around 2:58AM. When I finally got upstairs—counting, not seeing steps—and before I could feel too sorry for my aching bones, I was reminded that my wife, Alicia had been awake since 1AM by the sight of her sitting before her computer under the warm glow of a nearby lamp. 

She's not a night owl. She was working.

A number of weeks ago a friend of ours passed on some info about what looked to be a temporary but legitimate work from home opportunity. A little research found my wife at an application for the assignment and an evaluation of her home network. We were of course very cautious as we've seen the multitude of overbearing emails touting the greatest employment opportunity on the planet right before they ask for a major credit card number. There was no such touting. Instead, there were a lot of checks and rechecks and tests on behalf of the firm to make sure the Internet connection, home computer equipment and, to some extent, Alicia qualified for the assignment. Everything (and Alicia) passed the series of inspections and she was given a start date. 

We certainly need the additional revenue stream. Sometimes it's hard to get that stream flowing since every opportunity has a cost associated with it which often negates any monetary gain. But working from home is a major problem solver. So much so that it baffles me as to why more companies aren't fully embracing the working arrangement. 

All too often I hear about supervisors, managers, directors, even executives who don't like the idea of employees working from home, subsequently barring employees under their charge from partaking in any such program or policy. They excuse themselves with claims of being 'old fashioned,' like that's an honorable badge giving pass to their narrow views. Here in Atlanta, considering the ever growing concern for traffic and its negative environmental affects, there should be but a handful of companies that disallow some significant portion of their employee body's ability to work from home on a regular—if not full time—basis. 

Can you tell I've had an unpleasant brush against this issue in my past?

Seriously, the family time that is gained from not having to submit to a pointless one and a half to two hour commute (that's one way, by the way) is priceless. And if companies are more concerned about their bottom line than the health and wellbeing of their employees, then the number of productive hours a manager wins back from not having to do the ride or drive should be considered. However it's examined, there are more valuable pros to the work from home arrangement than should be superseded by a badge on the chest of a dying breed. 

Breathe, Ralston. Breathe.

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