What Being New To Working From Home Full-Time Has Taught Me
A lot a people, including myself, might say that working from home would be so awesome and thinks that they could do that. Don’t get me wrong it is awesome, but whole different animal than working in a standard work environment. At home there is no boss telling you; time to get some work done, time to get up, or stop screwing around. You have to constantly be on your toes and expect the unexpected. In the following article I will talk about the major problem area’s I have run into in hopes that it might help a newcomer such as you.
When working from home, you must have ambition and a ton of it. As I said above, you basically don’t have a boss and a person could easily go off into “la-la” land. That hunger to succeed has to hurt bad enough for a job to work at home. For me it’s my continued drive for success and my family. I will do whatever it takes to provide for my family so they don’t have to worry about anything. It may be different for someone else; it may be a brand new car, a house, or really anything. But as long as you have that drive or hunger, it’s a major step in succeeding.
I have found that the learning curve is much more substantial than I had originally thought. Because of this I had set my goals extremely too high only to see them fall like ton of bricks. You see, I came to Gould Design, Inc. from a truss plant in Colorado. In this region of Colorado, every builder basically frames the same way. There might be tiny variances based on plan specifications such as; overhang lengths, fillers on ceiling conditions, or steps in ceilings over walls, etc. Other than that and maybe a few other small details, everything is pretty much the same. This in turn made my job working in an office very easy. I could just open up a plan and go to town. I knew what I had to do and how to do it.
Now that I am working with GDI full-time, we have multiple clients all throughout North America and allow me to tell you, no one frames the same. Because of this GDI enforces that all of our clients write a detailed design criteria on how they like their jobs to be done. This is great in order to insure that the products our clients are giving their customers are the same each and every time no matter how many different designers worked on their work. Now the problem with this is, you guessed it, a HUGE learning curve. Before, I would do a job for one customer the same way I would do it for 100 others. Now I have to learn what each and every client expects on their work. With nearly 100 clients, this is a ton of work!
What I am trying to say is this: Don’t set your goals in the clouds right out of gate. Be realistic and plan for learning new systems. That way there isn’t a huge disappointment when you’re not doing what you had expected yourself to do.
Another big work at home challenge I have is procrastination. This is a huge one for me as I feel, since I work at home, I can get it done whenever. Instead of getting up in the morning to work, I may say, “Oh, it can wait, I will stay up late tonight and get it done.”
This is also where the learning curve ties into this as well. If I do end up deciding to get it done late at night, what am I going to do when I am still learning a client and takes me 3-4 times longer to complete a project than it should? Will anyone be available to answer my questions?
This means my original thought process in morning was completely wrong and the project may not make the deadline. This is something I fought with my whole life. It wasn’t as bad when I wasn’t working from home. But I think anyone could agree, working from home really awakens this beast.
When I started working from home I had an office to work in, away from the family with very little distraction. Now that my office is under construction and out of service after the floods, my office is in the dining room in plain view of everything that goes on in my house. I have a 9 month old son who likes to be the life of the party. Don’t get me wrong, I love my wife and child, but when I work I want to be able to crank up my tunes and go to town.
A dedicated office is a very crucial part of working at home. The least amount of distractions amounts to little to no errors. Even when you’re not working, how many times have you been deep in thought with something and been interrupted? Only to forget what you were doing when you went back to it? This is a major problem. Say you’re working on a house and you have everything imputed that you need to properly lay out the trusses and then you get a phone call or someone starts talking to you. After you’re finished and get back to work, you may forget that the whole back of the house was supposed to be 1’ higher than the front of the house. You go about your business designing the trusses because you “know” they are correct. The next day, you get that dreaded phone call from the team member assigned to perform Quality Assurance on your job. If you’re like me, you like to play detective and find out what happened. Process of elimination says sometime in the design process, you were interrupted. Minimal distractions are vital in working from home.
I hope that after you read this, it gives you a better understanding about working from home. I will be honest, it is great. I get to see my family and watch my child grow up. Remember to take into account all the things that I have listed above and ones that I didn’t even touch on. It’s these things that if you know and understand before you head down the work from home road, will save you disappointment and doubt in the long run.
Zach Failing – Design Professional
Gould Design, Inc.