Dear Aunty B,
There has been a lot of talk about working from home and the new buzzword ‘teleworking’.
Being a numbers person, I can take my laptop and work anywhere – so I can remotely login to our business server and work comfortably from home five days a week.
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There’s no commuting and an empty house, at least until the kids come home from school! Good time management is important and I go into the office every week to touch base for a couple of hours so that I am part of the team, and we have weekly meetings that I attend.
But one of my biggest problems is the perception from other people (friends, family, school community) that because I work from home it’s not a ‘real’ job. There are benefits to working in comfy clothes, but the reality is that if you look unprofessional, then you are treated as such. So I get myself looking nice, simply to let others know that ‘Hey, I’m a professional working mum’.
I have also had to seriously growl at my mother who thinks that she can pop in for a quick chat because I am home (she just doesn’t get it!). So we invested in a secure garage door and I don’t answer the door when I am at work.
But what else do I need to do to convince my little community that I AM working and deserve to be taken seriously, wherever my job is actually located.
It sounds like you’ve got the working from home thing down pat. You get yourself into the right frame of mind by dressing the part and you’ve created a designated workspace at home, which I reckon is really important.
To solve this problem, I think you’ve got to extend this approach.
I’m not sure how you talk about your role, but I reckon you need to stop using the phrase “working from home” if you currently do.
If your friends or family or the mums and dads at school ask what you are doing on a given day, tell them you are “going to work”.
If you get a personal call from one of these people, tell the caller that you are “at work and can’t talk for long”.
If your mum does drop in, tell her she can only come during your lunchbreak, like she would if you were at headquarters.
Your mindset has changed to the point where the location of your role doesn’t matter. You need to change the mindsets of others and the best way to do this is to make working from home as normal as working in a shop or a factory or an office.
And if they can’t get their heads around it, then stuff them. You know how you contribute to your company and that’s what counts.
Your Aunty B
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