Working from Home

bunnyslippersDay #16: I’m grateful for the ability to work from home

In the blustery Northeast, it has been a terrific time for those who have the option to work from home. While I work primarily from home for a company located several states away, I have local colleagues, family and friends whose work is such that when the ‘Polar Vortex’ hit, they were told to work from home several days over the past few weeks.

Long before I worked remotely I have advocated for an increased use of remote work. We have all this technology, as I blogged about earlier, why not use it to unclog the roadways in the morning and afternoon rush hours? Think about the relief to parking congestion, and the benefits of reduced carbon emissions fewer cars on the road would contribute? What about reducing some of the stress for people who spend entirely too much time on the road and circling like vultures for a parking spot in crowded and parking-poor cities. Might we see health care costs start to edge downward – especially if people can go to the gym at lunch and not have to worry about reassembling their work-ready “look” after sweating it out for 30 minutes on the treadmill? With all the howling about increasing health care costs, I would think this alone serves as motivation to move even more quickly to a remote model.

If companies really wanted to be efficient, they could maximize real estate with smart utilization of remote work and let’s talk RETENTION. These kinds of perks are harder to walk away from than a 2% raise, any day! Let’s face it: you’re not hiring us to look good, smell good or be cute. We have some combination of skills that contribute to your bottom line. If we can do this remotely, you win (you = employer) but the whole community wins too!

Now, I know what some of you may think: not every job can be done remotely. This is true. We still need hands on nurses, teachers, physicians, engineers and more. No, the construction crew rebuilding the bridge can’t work remotely, BUT – if the people who CAN work remotely are allowed to work remotely, think about how much more quickly the non-remote folks could get to work in the morning. Think about road repairs during normal business hours might be possible without a 3-hour traffic jam. It just seems so much more civilized than the way we are doing things now: midnight road repairs, 2 hours in traffic (idling and filling the air with noxious fumes and boosting carbon pollution) just to go 10 miles and more stress than doctors tell us is healthy.

Not sure I’ll convince the Type-A/Retentive managers out there who aren’t happy unless they can count cubicle noses at 8:01am every day, but in the 21st century, I can at least hope there is a path to a better way; especially when that better way is being modeled slowly but surely across the nation.

I’m thankful to work for a company that sees value in remote work days!

Workfrom Home

Charge it!

Day #15: I’m grateful for the company corporate credit card

My first job where travel was a factor was the US Navy. To be honest, I don’t remember exactly how travel was handled but I know Uncle Sam didn’t give me a corporate credit card. After that, mom-friendly jobs and other part-time work left little need to think of such things.

The year I went back into the workforce in earnest I worked with a company that gave me a corporate American Express card so that when I had to travel, it was easily documented, easily reimbursed and no burden on me. I wasn’t nearly as thankful as I should have been because the next few jobs that followed required me to pay for airfare, hotels, etc. when traveling on company business, which they reimbursed at some point …later. I was almost apoplectic the first time an employer wanted me to buy a last minute, $800 plane ticket,…in November. It took them more than 90-days to process the reimbursement – well past the Xmas holidays where that $800+ could have been better spent. I was neither happy nor grateful.

After a few years in Cheapsville, I landed a consulting gig where I not only had a corporate card, but $40/day per diem for meals (that was awesome).

Then I landed here in my current job where employees are well-cared for when they travel. No receipts required for purchases under $25; no out of pocket expenses other than the occasional bell hop tip. I’ve taken this for granted until the other day when something brought back the days of paying out of pocket, and I realized that this simple act – getting your people a corporate card – was a serious perk, and that I was grateful for it.

I’m thankful for my little silver BofA MasterCard. It makes life so much simpler on the road, or in the air!

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Paid Time Off

Day #14: I’m grateful for paid time off

When the insanity of it all gets to be too much, no more need to call your boss with the fake hoarse voice. About a decade ago companies moved away from separate categories for sick time and vacation time. In some cases this resulted in net fewer days, but in other cases it, along with increasing concerns around privacy, have been a boon for those of us who need the occasional break for mental health reasons.

When I say “mental health” I do not refer to anything diagnosable, but of those days when the ninnies and “paths” (otherwise known as coworkers and managers) become too much and we know we must simply disengage before we get ourselves in trouble.

I plan to work tomorrow, but know that just in case, I have my trusty PTO to fall back on when things get “flinky”.

Thank heavens for PTO!

Brrrrrrrrrrr!

Day #13: I’m grateful for the parking at my job

Parking situations at your job can vary as much as the temperament of your boss. Some are great and exact very little stress on you, while others are quite taxing and leave you worn out most days.

When I was in the US Navy, stationed in sunny San Diego parking far away and walking up 2 terrace-like hills to get to work at the Naval Hospital was an inconvenience, but other than those days when I was late, not a major issue.

Fast-forward 25 years and I got a great job at a university and was told, “sorry – no parking available; and good luck”

In the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic, this is a ticket to hard times when the snow, ice and low temperatures of Winter come to town. The fact that it cost me close to $100/month for the privilege of hunting for a faraway parking spot didn’t contribute to my love of that job, or the parking situation.

These days I park in my own driveway – which means I don’t have to go out in the elements on frigid days like this, thankfully, however; even when I do venture in to the office I enjoy ample parking, close to the building and free.

Today I’m thankful for my parking arrangements!

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The Simple Things

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Day #12: I’m grateful for Tuesday

I’m not sure why, but somehow Tuesday just engenders less dread than Monday. There’s no knot tightening in the stomach starting right before supper, and no late night dread. I think it’s because we all survived Monday, so how hard could Tuesday be, right!? 🙂

I knew starting this journey that 40 days of gratitude for work would be a challenge, but after a day like today, it’s the simple things, like tomorrow being Tuesday, that make me smile.

Thankful for Tuesdays!

Benefits of a Monday

Day 11: I’m grateful for a change of scenery

Mondays get a bad rap. There’s that groan that begins sometime on Sunday (I wrote about this before) and for many of us it means the end of sleeping in, sweatpants, slippers and all things fun and back to the grind of the paying job.

BUT – what if we looked at it differently. I mean really, how long can we lounge around in our comfortable clothes, eating out of the fridge and choosing whether or not to comb our hair? Well, I could probably do it longer than most, but even I appreciate the change in scenery that the Monday morning meeting, requiring a suit and heels, brings to my perspective. If nothing else, it sure makes those sweats feel better once the weekend finally shows up again!

If you’re currently NOT working, look for contrast in your days, too and be sure to remember that transition from Friday work to weekend, and from Sunday night to the start of the work week and think about how you view these now. Do you think of them the same way? Be thankful for changes in routine and habits. It keeps us sharp, helps to eliminate boredom and if nothing else, gives us an excuse to look forward to something.

I’m thankful for the many changes of scenery that my job provides!

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Human Resources

Day #10: I’m thankful for the HR department

Most of us don’t deal with HR except when we’re interviewing, on-boarding or need something changed with our benefits, but the HR department can be a major ally in other situations.

If you’re lucky there are decent and understanding people in your HR department. These are people you can confide in, seek advice from and rely to be the go-between when “things” go awry on the job.

HR gets a bad wrap at times since they’re always front & center in any layoff, reorganization or “other” action. Surely they have a tough job towing the company line while peoples’ lives take a sharp turn, and sometimes for the worse (or at least it seems at the time).

While most of us have a story or 2 about an HR nightmare, overall they’re the good guys & gals.

Tonight I’m thankful for the HR profession and the people who dedicate their careers to helping us at work.

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