Working from “Home”
There are definite benefits and challenges to managing a consulting business and working from home. Ultimately, you need to be a classic Type-A personality: driven, time-conscious, aggressive and a workaholic. It’s a constant balancing act and I rarely work a “normal” schedule. There are many late nights, sacrificed vacations, unconventional work situations and TONS of mommy guilt. Today was one of those days though when I sit back and realize why I do it, and that it is all worth while.
Last night when the GOLD PR gals suggested taking our weekly team status meeting down to the beach with our kids to try and squeeze out the last of the summer break, although my long list of to-dos ran through my head, I didn’t have to think twice. Instead I let my son’s pre-school know he wouldn’t be coming in, packed our bags and worked late in to the night to be sure I could sneak away from my computer for the day. So how exactly did the three key members of our team swing a day at the beach with our kids while the rest of the world was working? Well…
- Write all of your follow up emails and pitches for the next day, let them sit in the drafts folder overnight, then hit send in the morning right before you leave
- Take your first conference call while you make lunches and pack up the car
- Plan your second conference call to coincide with the drive down to the beach, put on a movie for the kiddos so they stay quiet while you discuss strategies and tactics with the marketing director, then circle around the block a few times before you get to the beach while you wrap up the call so that your kid doesn’t scream out “the beach!” at first glance
- Set up shop on the sand and cancel the mid-day conference call
- Check your email on your phone a few times throughout the day–definitely remove the “Sent from my iPhone” signature on outgoing emails
- Discuss a new business opportunity and next steps for upcoming projects on your major accounts, while you build sandcastles and find rocks with your kids
- Take turns watching each other’s kids when you have to run up to the street to take an important call
- Push back your afternoon call so that you can get a few extra hours of sun
- Conference call eachother in on the drive home to be sure we all know what we need to work on later that night and to check schedules for the next day’s meetings–while our kids are sandy, sticky and passed out in the back after a good day at the beach
- Work another late night answering emails and getting ready for an extra productive Friday
- Check everything off the to-do list–well, almost everything
And do you know what was the most amazing part of all? We managed to have a fun and relaxing end-of-summer beach day with our kids along the way…
It’s really days like this that I feel so fortunate to do what I do and to work with amazing woman who have the same values and work ethics. We work really hard, but we also play hard, we have eachother’s back, and we always find time to be with our kids. And I have found this to be true of most consultants and virtual teams that I have worked with, when the confines of the traditional work environment are removed the worker bee ends up being more accountable and productive, because time IS essentially money. The virtual set up removes the inefficiencies of working to just clock hours and I believe this is why so many companies are starting to become increasingly more comfortable working with agencies that are set up this way, because you get a team of top-level entrepreneurs working on your business.
In my humble opinion, I feel fortunate enough to enjoy the best of both worlds, I get to have a fulfilling career and I’m not spending most of my time behind a desk at an office away from my family. Yes, there are some major sacrifices and I work my ass off, but on days like today…it’s just another day at the beach.