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Family 411: Working from Home
DAYTON -- Despite big headlines last year about some big companies like Yahoo and HP ending work-from-home policies, it's on the upswing in the U.S. It's estimated that by 2016 the number of employees who work from home at least one day a week will grow by 21 percent.
Tanya Trusty has worked in consumer research for Procter & Gamble for about 15 years. Her job entails trying to understand what the consumer wants and needs from products.
About five years ago, Tanya started working from home one day a week.
"I totally think I get more quality work done because it's without interruption," she says. "You can totally focus."
Gallup's State of the American Workplace shows nearly four in 10 employees spend some amount of time working remotely or in locations apart from their coworkers. The report found remote workers log more hours, and they're slightly more engaged than employees who work onsite.
"The more happy our people are, the longer they'll stay with us, and they're going to be more productive," Procter & Gamble Manager Joanna Zucker says. "The company has long been recognized for its Flex at Work strategy, which allows employees like Tanya to shift hours, share jobs or work at home some of the time."
She admits it does help with the family dinners and being able to help with the family activities.
Career expert Julie Bauke says some in upper management resist telecommuting or the work-from-home trend. Some of the reluctance is the people who used to say everybody shows up at 8 and I didn't say 8:02. But Bauke says the cost savings, technology and younger generations moving into the workforce are making it more acceptable. She and Tanya both agree that it's important for management and employees to recognize who can handle it. It's really important for companies to manage each person in a way they're most productive, observes Bauke. And Tanya adds, you do need to make sure you understand you need to do all your work because it could be easy to get sidetracked -- oh, I have laundry upstairs.
Still, some roles in business can't be played on the homefront. Tanya says she still values her time in the office with co-workers, but she's found a good balance. She says this is a benefit. "One of the benefits that in this part of my life and my career works out perfectly for me, so I very much value that."
Business author Jody Thompson ("Why Work Sucks and How to Fix It") gave us some tips for talking with your manager about working from home. First, talk about the goals of your job and department, discuss accountability, keeping your manager informed about progress and how you would address unforeseen challenges. Then make your case for giving some off-site work a try.
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