Working from Home

Imagine waking up every morning and starting your work day at your home office desk with your coffee without the stress of a traffic commute or the office politics that waste time and are a distraction to the business of the day. Sound nice? Depending on your personal preferences and goals, working from home may sound like a dream come true for some of us.

Over the past 10 years, with the accessibility that technology allows, employers have allowed and sometimes encouraged employees to work from home. While many professionals such as teachers, doctors and some government employees still may require onsite work, many trades offer home-based opportunities.

Considering both the advantages and disadvantages of working from home are crucial when deciding if this could be the right path for you and your future. While businesses generally prefer employees on site, home-based employees offer money saving opportunities for businesses. In many cases businesses may see improvements in the quality of the output of the workforce by allowing professionals the flexibility and privacy they require to perform their jobs to the best of their abilities.

Alternative work arrangements can benefit both the employers and the employees. According to most employee responses, working from home can reduce stress, help with professional priorities and increase job enjoyment and creativity. For the employer, the result is a stronger commitment to the company, reducing staff overturn.

While working from home might seem optimal, there are some disadvantages. People may miss the companionship an office atmosphere creates, sometimes have a hard time avoiding distractions, may struggle with the lack of self-discipline to start working on time, do not thrive without the pressure of a boss or become lonely and miss face-time with coworkers in the office, and even struggle with the possibility of over working… Yes, it possible to put in more hours each day when you are sitting at home.

Working from home like all professional decisions requires carefully weighing the pros and cons and coming out on the side of adding value while balancing our choices, personal lives and futures.

Screen Reading

Digital screens are in our pockets, on our wrists, in our briefcases, purses, suitcases, cars, planes, living rooms, on our desks at work and now even on gas pumps. No matter where we go, how we get there or what field we work in we are the generation of screens. Screen reading is the new normal and we all are adapting, it’s a new culture and way of living, the way we are all experiencing life. We most importantly have adapted to read this way for work and pleasure.

We read on screens for convenience, access to faster and updated information that the printed word can’t provide. However, it appears we may have also lost in this transition the attention span, imagination, creativity and analytical skills the written word provides us. It’s easy and simple to pick up a screen and share, tweet, research and bookmark anything we find to anyone all over the world. But at what cost has “easy” replaced our need to evaluate.

Our screens are now the first place we go to look for news, friends, and answers whether at home or in the workplace. The internet has made us all speed readers, scanning news articles, stock reports, reviews, events pages, menus, to find only the keywords we need instead of actually absorbing the information to make informed decisions, to in fact, learn to think.

In the business world we have seen the conversion from a paper world to an electronic world to achieve “faster, easier and more profitable” with less investment in space, time and energy. But to what gain? The way we teach, interact with each other, create and communicate all comes in to play to create a healthy and happy and therefore more productive environment. It appears to me we may need to have a throwback movement when the natural urges of all people need the touch and feel of something other than an electronic brain.

The Results of Handwriting

When was the last time you put a pen to paper and wrote a note? In our anonymous digital age, the need for a personal mark is increasingly more important, but in a world of touchscreens and tablets can the role of handwriting survive?

Not only is personal writing an important skill, but it is also an important art that translates into any career field. All professions require some form of communication the job to convey ideas and concepts. The rarity of receiving any kind of handwritten note from an organization or an acquaintance is always appreciated. Even a handwritten note after a job interview can be very beneficial. Some companies utilize graphology which is the analysis of handwriting as part of hiring processes.

In the business world, emailing may be the faster and simpler alternative to longhand writing, but that effortlessness can diminish our ability to communicate in a unique and creative way. Penmanship and good writing skills add to the impression of a polished and competent environment.

At your desk you see 183 emails and two handwritten notes are sitting there, which do you think stand out? A click of a button deletes all your emails but it’s very rare you’ll throw out an unopened note.

Communication is the most important part of any relationship, including business relationships.