Do you dream of being able to work from home? Do you wish some days you could roll out of bed and immediately start accomplishing your tasks for the day, without having to make the dreaded commute to the office?
More and more companies are implementing flexible work options into their workplaces because of the demand for it. Working virtually, telecommuting or creating a flexible schedule is important to a lot of career professionals – in fact, 51 percent of working adults (18-44) plan to look for a new job within the next three years with an employer that offers these options, a survey by MomCorps revealed.
How do you land a legitimate job opportunity in order to take advantage of this growing trend? Here are a few ways:
Negotiate flex options into your current job. Just because your employer doesn’t offer any flex work options upfront doesn’t mean they aren’t willing to consider it. Perhaps you can suggest telecommuting one day per week to see how it goes, and if you’re successful, discuss more days working from home in the future. As long as your productivity doesn’t decrease on the days you work virtually, there’s no reason why an employer should shoot down the idea.
Find a virtual job. A lot of startups and small businesses opt to have employees work from home. It saves on office and technology costs, and allows them to hire folks from anywhere in the country. Head to virtual or freelance job sites to find opportunities. (Freelance Switch is a good one if you’re interested in freelance opps.)
Start your own business. It’s easier than ever to start a business today, and without a huge initial investment. You can publicize your products or services on a personal website or social media, or build a storefront based on what you offer. (For example, Etsy is a great place to sell handmade items and crafts.) As long as you have a computer and reliable Internet connection, you can work for yourself from home. The rest is up to you!
Sure, not every job can be done from home. However, a lot of workers find they’re just as productive (or more productive) when telecommuting or working virtually.
What do you think? Do you hope to be able to work from home? Or do you prefer an office setting?
We live in a world where everything is moving so fast, things are constantly changing, and many of us are in “high gear” from the moment we open our eyes in the morning until we literally pass out from sheer exhaustion at night.
How can you adapt and deal with things around you, which in many cases are totally out of your control? How do you keep things in perspective when it feels like everything around you is moving at the speed of light? How do you maintain a sense of calm during chaos?
We’ve all been faced with this question whether it is in our personal lives, in our professional careers, or environmentally. Unfortunately, there isn’t a “magic pill” to make it all go away, but I’ve found that by following 5 basic principles, you can achieve a sense of calmness and steadiness during chaotic times.
- Stop Worrying – Worrying doesn’t do anything but give you grey hair! Worrying doesn’t change anything. It causes anxiety, fear, and ulcers and can sometimes make problems worse than what they really are. Realize that YOU are the only person who can control your emotions and how you react to situations. Life is too short. Stop worrying and start living!
- Take Responsibility – Don’t allow yourself to live in a constant state of paranoia and fear. If something is bothering you or making you uncomfortable, it’s your responsibility to take action and do something about it. The most impactful and empowering thing you can do is take control of your own destiny. No one else can do this for you.
- Breathe, Think, then Act – Telling someone to take a deep breath might sound very elementary, but trust me, it helps. Taking a few deep breaths allows you to calm your nerves, gives you a little time to process the millions of thoughts running through your mind, and allows you to regain control of your emotions—quickly. Once you are composed, you can now begin to thoughtfully and strategically think about what’s happening in your life, and what you need to do to get to where you want to be. Now you can create a definitive plan and timeline, and identify the actionable items needed to achieve the things you set out to do.
- Take a Break from Technology – I find it ironic that I’m talking about taking a break from technology while writing a blog! Please don’t let that dilute the importance of this principle. We are all constantly checking and responding to emails and voicemails, talking on cell phones, posting to Facebook, sending tweets, or surfing the net, and we are doing all of this while watching television! Set boundaries for yourself and allot a specified time each day to “unplug”, by the way, this time cannot be while you’re sleeping! I guarantee that if you do this every single day, you will be amazed by the sense of calm that it brings into your life.
- Think About Worse Case Scenarios – I attended a conference a few months ago and the keynote speaker, Tim Sanders, talked about the importance of facing and dealing with worst case scenarios in your life. It is a very difficult thing to do, but if you know what the worst case scenario is in whatever situation you’re dealing with, you will either be better prepared to deal with that situation if it occurs, or you will proactively take the steps now to prevent those things from occurring. Either way you’ve conquered your fear, because you already know what you’re dealing with, and are making the necessary preparations along the way.
Ms. Congeniality OR Über Bossy Boss? How does one strike a balance between being a results-driven leader that excels without the label of being overly aggressive (or even worse)? It’s hard to always strike the right balance, as usually we are dealing with other people to accomplish our goals. People have preferences for styles of communication…and of course the ever subjective emotions we all have. I think most folks are looking for guidance, definitive plans, and the ability to truly participate within their employment relationships. Who wants to work for a non-leader? Holding people accountable to deliver results and providing strategic direction are the two most common elements that define “leadership”. It is the approach to working with individuals and teams that gets leaders into trouble. Have you seen the movie “Horrible Boss”? WOW—a comical reminder that leadership is embedded with as much responsibility to meeting business goals as it is to provide dignity to people. I have found that these are not mutually exclusive traits. I have held numerous roles as a leader over my career.
Here are some principles that I try to live by:
- Lead by the example by being a kind, decent, honest, hard- working individual. That’s who I am, how I like to be treated, and I believe, what others seek as well. Kind does not equate to being too forgiving or soft. It means respecting that each person has their own definition of dignity and that a leader needs to hone in on that principle when communicating. Decent, for me, means operating with integrity, trust and sometimes recognizing that outside influences impact people every day. These may not be obvious – but they are there in the shadows we all cast. Honest is demonstrating you will lead with the premise of open communications, no hidden agendas, and you value people. I loathe people that are lazy, don’t pull their weight to contribute, and grab others success as their own! I break a sweat every day to contribute, solve problems, have ideas, meet deadlines, and achieve goals. And, I don’t live in the “Corporate Ivory Tower” syndrome. There is nothing more important to be learned than being outside of the office: clients, field organizations, supplier locations, and industry venues. These locations teach me every minute of every day what I need to know to affect my leadership, shape my strategies and keep my perspective laser focused.
- Constructive feedback needs to be delivered to individuals and teams on a regular, consistent basis. This can be praise, when earned, but it is also stating the “not so pleasant” things. It is easy to give praise and feels good to all when this is so. When goals are not being met, there is a team that is not working well or there is a problem with an individual contributor. A leader needs to be equally explicit about the realities of these facts. Not being direct does not help anyone nor will it change the end result. I try to take the emotion “off the table” with the first sentence of that kind of conversation. For example, if I am dealing with an individual not meeting expectation, I state, “I know you want to be successful, and part of my job is to help you meet that goal. Let me explain from my vantage point, and as the person ultimately responsible for our mutual business successes, why that is a problem……..” I don’t believe that 99% of the folks that come to work every day don’t want to be viewed as a winner. I start from that empathetic approach. I am equally not afraid to be blunt if the person does not want to accept their role to achieve their success and meet team goals.
- Goals, the path expected to meet the goal, and each person’s role within the delivery of success need to be clear. You can’t communicate this enough, and inspect progress against the goal too much. That is leadership in action. It is not too light nor overly aggressive…it just “is”. People make results, money, achieve goals, take market share, and as such, they want to have clear goals, their results reviewed and support in a re-direct if falling short. Usually, it is not one person alone that makes the result and wins…it is a team. Every team has a leader and every team wants to be lead in a constructive way.