Is it time for you to join the WFH revolution? WFH stands for three magic words – work from home. WFH aka telecommuting, working remotely or collectively as part of a distributed staff, can provide the ultimate in work/life balance.
Recently we looked at some of the best companies for new dads which basically are also great companies for moms, dog owners or anyone who wants some workplace flexibility. But seriously, why not just take it to the next level? Why go into the office at all? Or as some start-ups now see it, why even have an office? Email, Google Drive, mobile devices and online team project management tools such as Slack and Basecamp make virtual connectivity easier than ever.
The two to three hours you get back in your life by not commuting can instead be spent walking your dog, coaching your kid’s soccer team, going for a run, cooking dinner with your significant other or possibly all these and more.
Computer and IT Workers Top the Trend in Virtual Workforce
Forbes recently reported a 36% increase over last year in the number of remote job listings, with computer and IT jobs topping the list of fields offering these opportunities, followed by medical and health, sales, administrative, customer service, education and training, and marketing.
Companies today understand that integrating telecommuters into their workforce is a smart business strategy, remote work expert and Flexjobs founder Sara Sutton Fell, explained in the Forbes article. “Remote working is on the rise, and this acceleration is great news for anyone wishing to trade the office for a telecommuting job,” she said.
A recent Gallup poll, reported in the New York Times, confirms that more Americans are working remotely with 43% of employed Americans saying they spend at least some time working away from the office, according to responses from a survey of more than 15,000 adults.
That represents a four percent increase since 2012, a shift that meets the demands of many job seekers, the Times summary emphasized. “Gallup consistently has found that flexible scheduling and work-from-home opportunities play a major role in an employee’s decision to take or leave a job.”
Interestingly, those who spent 60% to 80% of their time away from the office had the highest rates of engagement with their jobs and the company, the Gallup survey noted.
How to Work from Home In Your Current Company – It’s All About Transition
If you are a software engineer or programmer, you can do this. You can work from home. You are like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz wearing the ruby slippers without even knowing their power. Your power is your skill set. It is in high demand. That is why people like you earn big bucks – average pay for a software engineer hovers in the low six figures, according to Paysa. And if Trump succeeds in clamping down on the H1-B visa program as he has stated he intends to, demand for homegrown talent could go even higher. CNN estimates that a full two-thirds of H1-B visa holders are tech workers who head straight to Silicon Valley.
Here’s what you have going for you that will help you transition to working from home in your current job:
- You have a proven track record. If you’ve been there a few years, the quality of your work speaks for itself.
- You are a known entity. Your bosses and colleagues have gotten to know you. It would easier for all involved to continue interacting with you over Skype or Facetime than to search for, hire and acclimate someone new.
- You can help your company move forward into the future of work. You can be a trail blazer. Others who follow will thank you. The company may be itching to try this and has just been waiting for the right person to do it. Tag, you’re it.
If you like your current job, talk to your boss and see whether he or she is open to the idea of you working from home. Find out your company’s policy on workplace flexibility to see if it already offers work-from-home options, advises telecommuting expert Sarah Sutton Fell on the Huffington Post. Then, she says, go through your job duties to see which ones need to be done in the office and which ones can be done offsite. Point out to the key decision makers how much of your job is already telecommuting friendly. But be prepared that you may only be able to work from home a day or two each week until everyone gets used to the new working arrangement.
How to Work from Home For a New Company – Many Start-Ups Ditching HQs
If you want a totally new job and, while you’re at it, one that you can do from anywhere, a start-up might be your best bet. Although many traditional companies are disproving the adage that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks by embracing telecommuting, many start-ups are building it right into their DNA from the get- go.
No office overhead saves money. And lots of it in places like San Francisco, Silicon Valley and New York City. “We noticed that office space was a not-insignificant element of our overall expenditures each month—more than we paid for health insurance, or advertising and marketing,” a start-up called Buffer recently wrote in a blog post about closing their SF office. With the money they save on rent, this young company and others like them instead host occasional fun meet-ups for their staff. WooCommerce noted on their blog, “We love remote working, but there’s nothing like getting the team together to meet-up, shake hands, share meals and have a drink together. Once a year we do a company-wide meet-up.”
The world’s their talent pool. A completely remote staff untethered to a central location enables the company to cast a really wide net for talent. “The very best people for the job are not frequently found on the doorstep, it begs the question of how many times geographical constraints have capped possibility. With roots in remote working relationships, we’re in the fortunate position of being able to recruit irrespective of geography and time zone,” WooCommerce also said in their company’s blog.
A distributed staff synchs with a horizontal structure. Instead of an old-fashioned vertical hierarchy with a boss perched at the top like a king on a throne, today many start-ups are opting for a horizontal or flat structure. These emphasize an employee-centered approach with emphasis on teamwork and collaboration. The focus is on empowering employees to innovate and focus on outcomes not job titles and job descriptions. It is easier to create this kind of structure from the ground up. No one has to think about who’s got the corner office if there is no corner office.
How to Succeed At Working From Home
To succeed at working from home, you’ve got to make sure that WFH doesn’t turn into WTF. To help you, we at Paysa have compiled a dozen tips we’ve gleaned from our own experience and an article 40+ Companies Share Their Secrets to Remote Work Success:
- Make a schedule and stick to it.
- Before you log off at the end of your work day, make a to-do list for tomorrow.
- If you have young kids at home, hire a sitter or enroll them in childcare. You cannot focus on work and your children at the same time.
- Your team is relying on you to be available for them, so whether you’re in Oakland, Brooklyn or Paris, you need to be accessible during agreed-upon business hours.
- Stay visible and connected with video chats, collaborate using project management like Basecamp, share lessons new information in a team portal like Slack, and set up recurring meetings to discuss your projects.
- Be accountable. Adhere to timelines and meet deadlines. When you work remotely it is especially important to do what you said you would do and to do it on time.
- Communication is oxygen. When working remotely it is vital that everything is communicated and documented. This includes projects, meetings and your day-to-day doings in the company.
- Make sure family, friends and neighbors know that you are working and not available until after your work day is finished.
- Conversely, be sure to get out every day to exercise, socialize and interact with the world.
- Schedule meetings and meet-ups with on a regular basis with your team.
- Pick up your phone and call someone on your team if you need help or feel that a challenge needs to be talked through.
- Be mindful of your written communication skills. Most of how you come across to people will be through your writing.
The Top 25 Companies for Remote Jobs
Forbes recently published Work From Home In 2017: The Top 100 Companies Offering Remote Jobs. Culled by Flexjobs from a list of 47,000 companies, it includes companies that allow telecommuting both part-time and full-time. For simplicity sake, we are presenting the top 25. Please check the company’s Paysa ranking to find out their reputation for hiring tech talent and current tech job openings.
|9||Sutherland Global Services|
|18||U.S. Department of Agriculture|
|23||BroadPath Healthcare Solutions|
Update: It was brought to our attention that Hubstaff Talent is a 100% remote employer with 30 employees worldwide. Check them out.