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Home Office without Guesswork - Experiences of remote workers for over 1 year

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Speak guys!
For those who follow me on social networks, I should have seen a short post talking about MY view of the advantages and disadvantages of working on the 100% home office (remote) scheme. As this is a very relevant subject and which I believe is the future of many professions, I decided to dig a little deeper into my analysis and make this material publicly available to all of you, as it can help to ask questions of people who are considering migrating. for this regime.

I don't know if everyone knows, but I'm leader of the BI team at Fabrício Lima - Data Solutions and I have been working 100% remote for more than a year now (visiting clients from time to time) and would like to share with you a little of my experience working in this way and my opinions.

After all, why is the Home Office so much discussed?

Over the last 20 years, we have seen increased agility in daily work routines in companies. Repetitive tasks are steadily losing ground and giving way to activities that require logical thinking, data analysis for decision making, and increasingly, IT has become more important and more part of people's daily lives (both inside companies, how much outside). IT's big challenge in 2 over the last few decades was bringing technology closer to the lay user, and that goal has been successfully met. Today, technology is increasingly present in people's lives and popularized. Nowadays, it's hard to live without a cellphone, where people communicate by text, voice and video, send e-mails, exchange files, give conferences, and almost everything they would do on a computer.

Due to these changes in the type of business activities, which have become more intellectual in nature than repetitive and routine activities, where people are increasingly thinking about automating and improving processes to eliminate this type of activity from their day and thus have more left over. In time to think and plan, corporations realized that they needed motivated, skilled, and engaged professionals to increase their productivity and, respectively, their profits.

And there began this boom of benefits for employees, aiming to increase their level of satisfaction and engagement, following examples of success such as Google, Facebook and several other giants born in the last 20 years:

  • Free Coffee Machines In Business
  • Work in shorts
  • Take your child / pet to the company
  • Day off on birthday
  • In-game video game / room
  • Rest / sleep room
  • Birthday party of the month
  • Several other benefits ...

These benefits are great and really motivate employees. They greatly increase engagement and can even be decisive factors in attracting or retaining a collaborator. That's where the home office.

Today's work is very dynamic and in many industries and professions, it doesn't require as much personal contact with your client or teammate. With the conferencing, video calling, high-speed file exchange, remote control, screen sharing and many other features of our modern world, doing business with customers from anywhere in the world today is a reality. Most retail companies are closing physical stores and betting on virtual stores, where everything is done over the Internet. Many companies are reducing the need to wait for minutes on the phone talking to telecom attendants for fully automated application or website calls.

Today it is common to have teammates allocated in different regions of the globe. In multinationals, we see many teams in different offices, living in different countries and speaking different languages. And because of this change in the job market, the way we deal with our client and how we work as a team, the home office has become an increasingly present reality in the daily lives of companies, especially technology and administrative areas.

What is the importance of working remotely?

After going through some big companies and completing 15 years working in IT, I can say that currently the main 5 things I evaluate in a possible job change are:

  • 1 - Salary
  • 2 - Home Office
  • 3 - Growth opportunities
  • 4 - Alignment of activities that I will perform with what I want for my career
  • 5 - Other non-financial benefits

In my opinion, Home Office is the main non-financial benefit that a company can offer you for several reasons, including:

  • Gain of time: I spent 30 mins to go to work and 1h to go back. EVERYDAY. And this time now I can use to stay with family, study or do anything else
  • Avoid stress: Traffic is stressful. Even if you don't even drive and go by bus, doing it every day is tiring and stressful.
  • Is safer: Leaving home every day to go to work is dangerous: You could get involved in an accident or get mugged.
  • It's cheaper: Home Office helps you save gas / ticket and does not “spend” your car.
  • It is more productive: Working in an office can sometimes be tricky. It is very common for you to be distracted by some parallel conversation from another person on the team or the company or a user wanting to “skip the queue” of the service and be personally asking or charging you for something. All of this takes your focus away.
  • It's more comfortable and performative: Generally those who work from home office end up investing in their own comfort to work. While companies choose tables, chairs and computers thinking about choosing the cheapest, when it is the professional who will decide this and he is motivated, he ends up opting for quality and comfort. Giving my personal example, I find it difficult for some company in Brazil to buy the equipment in the same quality that I bought to work. This gives me more comfort to work all day and I can do a lot more things at the same time, since my last generation PC can do anything, create several VM's for testing and everything opens at an almost instantaneous speed, while in companies , managers usually have powerful machines to open E-mail, internet and PowerPoint, while analysts have to deal with i5 16GB of RAM to open various software and heavy files.
  • Closer to family: Working from home office gives you the possibility to always be at home, so depending on the case, you can always have lunch with the family, play with your child / pet, etc.
  • Flexible hours: Since you won't have to waste time in traffic or get ready to go to work, you can wake up later. If you work on demand, you can make your schedule according to the times you are most productive. There are people who produce more during the day, others at night, and there are people who produce more at dawn.
  • Less team friction: Do you know those people on the team who are always fighting and arguing in the company? The home office will greatly reduce this and is even able to miss each other .. rs
  • More freedom: One of the biggest advantages of Home Office is the feeling of freedom you have! I can live anywhere in the world and keep working! I can go to the coast, get up early, work normally and go for a swim on the beach at the end of the day.
  • The best talentsAnother great advantage of Home Office for businesses is that they can count on top talent from anywhere in the world without having to move and leave their cities / families. It's very nice to see the happiness and testimony of people living far away or in the countryside who were already giving up work in their current cities and planning to stay away from their family and even move to a job search.

Are the benefits, giveaways, and cool things that companies strive to please employees from time to time interesting? Yes! For sure! But usually almost everything you already have in your home and in many cases, companies like to give various benefits and do various actions to make employees happier, but the same salary is not usually very high .. (these benefits have to come from somewhere, right?)

Is working remote just advantages?

Like everything else in life, there are disadvantages for the employee when working 100% remote as well, which I would like to highlight:

  • Home Office Requires Discipline: One thing is certain - Home Office NO It's for everyone. Many people cannot focus on their own at home and cannot produce. Either they don't have a quiet, secluded room to work in, or the family doesn't work well, or there's a lot of noise in the house, etc.
  • Some clients like personal contact.: In the consulting I work, we serve clients from all over Brazil. While the vast majority enjoy and adapt to working remotely, there are some who like me going there personally to present a project, talk, do some live explanation. To resolve these cases, we can always leave home one day or another to visit these clients. They will like it.
  • Home Office Requires Investment: Depending on your area of ​​expertise, you may need to have a good internet and / or a good computer. And it costs money. And not everyone can afford it, especially early in their careers.
  • Home Office = Home Office: Your home will be your office and this will require silence for meetings and day to day concentration. Your family will have to be understanding about this.
  • workaholic: Those who work remotely need to be careful not to become a Workaholic and try to disconnect from the company when their work is over. It is very common to see people always connected in the company and available in any problem, since his office is his own home.
  • Not Every Profession / Business Supports Home Office: One thing that is very clear to me, but it is worth mentioning here, is that not every area / company can join the Home Office .. Imagine doctors attending remotely or masons building a house remotely.
  • Energy bill increase: Something important to note is that you will save on fuel / passage, but your energy bill will increase due to increased time on the computer. If you like to spend all day in the air conditioner, the tendency is for the bill to increase much more

Although I think it has more advantages than disadvantages, we cannot leave these points aside. It is very important that the Home Office is well aligned with your client / manager to make it work as well as possible. The golden tip is focus. If you are doing your business well, the home office will be a success!

Some Tips for Starting a Home Office

After having some problems with Home Office, here are some tips that can make your life easier when you start working remotely:

  • You will probably have many meetings. Invest in a good quality microphone to be heard well at meetings and make sure you don't have a dog barking, a kid crying, or someone coming into your office loudly while you are in a meeting. This takes away the credibility of the company you represent.
  • You will probably share your computer screen a lot to show something to the customer. Organize your desktop, be careful not to expose any other client files or information, and choose a serious wallpaper.
  • Enjoy having meetings over the Internet, communicating to the client, and recording meetings (Most tools already have this feature, such as Skype and Microsoft Teams). This will protect you if the client says one thing in the meeting and wants something else later and also serves to review the meeting if you don't remember any details that the client said or demonstrated. Having to keep asking the client to explain something that he already explained in a meeting is very bad.
  • Invest in a good and stable internet and try to use wired network instead of WIFI. Nothing worse than a canceled meeting because your internet is crashing
  • Even if not required, use the ManicTime to facilitate your internal control of notes and even hours.
  • Do not open YouTube while working. In a moment you watched 50 videos and did nothing
  • Try to avoid using chats like Whatsapp Web on your computer if you can. Parallel conversations will drain your productivity
  • Use the extra time you will have to study and technically improve
  • Two monitors or more is a matter of NEED. Productivity increases MUCH!
  • If you're going to build a new computer for work, Desktop tends to be much less expensive than notebook computers, perform much better, last longer, and allow you to upgrade any components in the future.
  • Improve your communication and feedbacks: Since your client / leader is not seeing you sitting there working, you may want to give faster responses and frequent status updates on their demands. This way they are reassured that the work is being done and you are focused on delivering

Why are some companies against the Home Office?

Much is said about the benefits of Home Office work and how it increases employee satisfaction and motivation (although there are people who don't like home office), but some companies still don't seem to keep up with market trends and insist on not release Home Office, if only a few days a week, only.

Worse yet, are there companies that only release the home office when it suits them: Did the employee ask home office to try to go to his office at lunchtime near his house? Can't Home Office .. Has Bus Strike and Would Employee Stay Home Without Working? So can the Home Office! Will you have system migration at dawn or all weekend? May also!

But companies even have a certain reason, as there are some disadvantages for them joining the Home Office:

  • Timekeeping tool need: For the Home Office to work well, a timekeeping (cost) tool is required so that the employee can justify what he or she worked on that day, especially when the client is charged per hour, such as consulting firms.
  • Employee Control: Many companies and managers still live in the previous work regime, where the employee is watched all the time and enters at 8 am, has lunch at 12 pm, returns at 13 pm and leaves at 17 pm. Nowadays, it is not always the person who spent the most time sitting in front of the computer who produced the most. If you’re an “old-school” manager who NEEDS to control every second of your employees, there are tools like ManicTime which allow full control of all the time the employee used the computer, what websites and software they used and how long they stayed in each tab / window. It is the home office with MUCH MORE control than you have with employees in person.
  • Not everyone can work from Home Office: Not every employee has Home Office equipment or the discipline required. And that can disrupt the home office of an entire area / business. But for those who do not have this discipline, the ManicTime can help on all of that.

I believe the biggest impediment is the culture of many companies / managers, who still have the boss rather than leader mentality, because if you put the positives and negatives on paper, there is no justification for not allowing remote work, at least, a few days a week.

It's very cool for the company to be relaxed, cool, fun, toast every week, but I believe the vast majority prefer to work from home. Get up from PC at 17h and 17: 01 already available to go to a movie theater, walk the boardwalk, etc ..

Breaking Some Home Office Myths

I have already talked about advantages, disadvantages and now we need to break some myths and false paradigms about remote work:

  • # 1 - You can't control activities: I have heard this excuse for not releasing Home Office in the company a lot, but it is unfounded. There are tools for calling and recording optimal hours that allow you to know exactly what each employee was doing and measure their productivity. Make no mistake, “Old-School” manager. It is not because your employee is sitting in front of the PC all day that he is producing something. And it is better to work 6 hours yielding 100% of the potential than to work 8 hours yielding 50%, according to a study by Microsoft itself (Link here)
  • # 2 - There is no synergy between the team: Another unfounded excuse. Here at the company, we have employees from various states of Brazil and the atmosphere of friendship is amazing! Whenever we travel to events, we meet and it's like we're best friends. I have more intimacy with some of these people, whom I see more remote and sometimes in person than some people I saw every day when I worked in person.
  • # 3 - Home Office makes communication difficult: Nowadays, with screen-sharing tools, where the other person can even use the mouse and keyboard to interact on your screen, and voice / video calls, it's like you're on the other side. You can even create meetings with a lot of people like that.
  • # 4 - In the Home Office, nobody works properly: Quite the opposite. In some cases, you work even more than physically leaving the company and just looking at your notebook the other day. And using ManiacTime you can measure well the productivity and performance of each employee. The leader who knows how to do it with his own hands knows how to evaluate whether or not they are tangling him.

I hope that after clearing up these Home Office myths, you will now think fondly of adopting this form of work in your business 🙂
Do you have an “Old-School” boss who is totally against the Home Office? Show him this article 🙂

And what is your opinion? Are they against? In favor? Do you know any more myths / advantages / disadvantages that I forgot to comment on?
Leave here in the comments, a big hug and see you next time!