Written by Herbert B. Parks
Along with most business professionals in 2011, Jessica wakes up every morning and checks her smart devices for any text messages, “tweets”, emails, voicemails, and updates from her “social media” network such as LinkedIn and Facebook. She then has breakfast, takes a shower and gets ready to “leave for work”. With today’s technology, Jessica does not need to drive, carpool, or even ride a bike to work. Instead, Jessica stays at home in her “office” where everything is waiting for her: a computer, telephone, and an all-in-one copier/scanner/fax machine. Jessica then begins her day with “tasks” that must be finished and delivered within an allocated time span. Jessica is a wonderful example of today’s “virtualworker”.
Jessica’s case is similar to thousands of workers in North Carolina. With easy access to the new technologies of communication and information, business professionals have chosen the emerging philosophy of working away from the traditional office and becoming a “virtualworker”.
Professionals’ working from their home is not a new concept. Emerging technologies allow almost all tasks to be fulfilled outside the walls of the traditional office space. However, there are limitations and challenges that arise by working from home. Listed below are a few examples:
- Separating work and family life. Sharing the home is a challenging task and a difficult concept for family members and friends to understand. Often distractions from an individual’s personal life (taking part in football or soccer practice, school plays, running forgotten items to school, and so on), interferes with business accomplishments and goals.
- Working too much. When working from home there is a thin line between work and personal life. There is a constant temptation to work long hours instead of spending quality time with the family. Many professionals fall into the trap of being over consumed with work
- Feeling isolated from the real world. Without co-workers or bosses in your workplace, the home worker often finds it difficult to adjust to a solitary work environment. Suddenly the whole workplace becomes quiet, no more weekend stories or jokes in the break-room. The isolation feels intense for those who are adjusting from a corporate white-collar job. The loss of social interaction occurs during the transition to working from home
- Zoning and home association regulations. Many local governments and Home Owners Associations have strict guide lines about whether a business can be operated from the home.
- Not enough space for your files, equipment, and guests.
- Cost of expensive technology. Upgrades in computers, printers, copiers, telecommunicating equipment, telephone systems, etc.
- Lack of access to adequate broad bandwidth. With technology requiring more and more broad bandwidth, often residential providers are not equipped to provide the amounts of bandwidth you may need as technology changes.
- Creditability without a professional office environment many clients view those working from home as less than serious about their business.
- Busy telephone line. Clients hate a busy phone line and their call getting automatically dumped into voice mail.
- Loss of privacy potential security issues by inviting business associates to your home.
- Lack of administrative support. It never fails that a client needs something when you least expect it or have the time to deal with; a proposal or document needs to go out and yet you have only two hands.
- Distractions. The home is a fertile ground for interruptions from children, animals, the TV, and houseguests making noise in the background.
- Slips into laziness. No requirement to start work at a specific time. If self-discipline is not maintained productivity can seriously decrease.
- Personal chores. Extremely difficult to avoid when one is at home. The tasks can be overwhelming and one can easily get caught up for hours doing personal chores.
- Boredom. A major disadvantage of working from home is the lack of human interaction. Colleagues and peers help in keeping the competitive spirit alive and enhance productivity. Going to an office is a great way to get away from the stress at home and vice versa but if the office is at home then there might be no escaping the stress.
As the homeworker has continued to evolve, the evolution has brought them to be known as “virtualworker.” With today’s technologies the “virtualworker” has the option to work anywhere in the world. Whether you are on the beach in California, in the mountains of Colorado, or on a boat in the Bahamas, the possibilities are endless. The best feature is that your calls will appear as through you’re currently working at our Greensboro or Raleigh location. This technology provides great flexibility for the “virtualworker”.