Gig Tips: Some initial thoughts on telecommuting

This is a new kind of blog entry for me.  Last week this time, I would have been talking about a Daily Journal where I was balancing being a mom and going to work.   I would have likely talked about Chocolate Tuesday.  But this week, and every week going forward, will be different for me.  I am no longer in that house with my children on Tuesdays.  I am in a different home.  I will have the children the second half of the week.  

So, this leaves me with some time on my hands. 

I’ve been wanting to balance this blog with career-related information that I believe could help working mothers.   There is so much out there to think about and every now and then I come across something that I believe is REALLY useful.  Also, after 20+ years in the workforce, I feel like I have some perspectives to share of my own.  I also believe that there is a very strong overlap of skillset between being a mom and managing a job/career.   I noticed a sharp difference in HOW I worked after having children – some traits for the worse, but some for the better.  Sometimes managing down to your subordinates, up to your bosses, and across to your peers feels like managing a set of Toddlers…. I see the connections frequently, as I’m sure you must as well.

So anyway, this is a test for us.   This may work out well, or it may not.  Who knows.  But I like trying new things.   Let’s see if this kind of post is useful or mildly interesting for people.  If so, I will continue.  If not, I will focus on weeding my backyard instead.  🙂


The subject of telecommuting is something near and dear to my heart.  I have the very good fortune of working for a firm where its employees are out of the office most of the time for work anyway… yes, extensive travel is NOT a good thing for work/life balance HOWEVER working in this kind of environment has provided me the opportunity to begin the discussions with my employers about the possibility of my working remotely… carving out a portion of my working week where I can work from home.

I am lucky that I work for a company that believes that “people on the go” can still be productive – this is what we’ve built our business on. But face-time is still important in this line of work as well.  Face time can be important when you need to work with teams.   Sometimes working face-to-face is more efficient – and yields much better results.  But, sometimes you have those “heads down” kinds of tasks where it actually is better to be alone – with less interuption – and more time to focus on what you need to get done.

I believe that telecommuting/workshifting has been PARAMOUNT in my happiness; being able to feel productive at home with your work frees up your time, makes you feel more in control of your life, and simply enables you to be there more for your children when need be (e.g., volunteering, still working if your children are home sick, being able to cook a home-cooked traditional dinner on those days, etc.).

So how was I able to negotiate this kind of working arrangement?   How did I begin?  How did I manage to sell the concept to my management?

I do not know the answer 100%.   But I do know that my tenure there meant something.  That my value to the company was worth more than the risk of having me leave.   I approached the concept as a “test”; let’s see if this works for you, for me.  And I’ve worked VERY hard to make sure this arrangement is humming and that I’m not dropping the ball.  It has taken some time to refine, and there were some kinks that had to be worked out – for example checking email even when I’m not “on the clock” so I can respond to clients, communicating to EVERYONE when I am available and when I am not, making sure I am reachable, setting up a proper workspace in my home so that I can be productive….. there are many things that make this work for me.   And I could probably write more about this if people are interested.

I also have one thing to share that I recently came across at  Lister, Kate;, (2010), “”Telecommuting Benefits: The Bottom Line”.

I thought that it was interesting how they decomposed the value of “workshifting” to the individual, the company, and society.  The website is also interesting and focuses on the topic of telecommuting.

Maybe this could help you in discussing the potential with your own employer?   Maybe it could help you to paint the benefit that they could see from a workshifting arrangement?  

Check it out and let me know what you think!

Thanks for giving me the time to read this “experimental” post –

– Mama K

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