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Let’s start off with the reality of the hours involved in being a consultant…
One of my former clients, who was local (a rare occurrence), required all consultants to work onsite — for me that involved arriving between 7:30 and 8 am and leaving after 6 pm.
My commute adds another 2-1/2 to 3 hours to the day.
Total daily time involved was 12-1/2 to 13-1/2 hours, weekly that would be between 60 to 65 hours.
Actual time working?
45 to 50 hours, if there was lunch (usually consumed while working).
That’s between 17 and 25% of the time just traveling, unproductive time as it’s not good ethics to be making confidential and personal data available to prying eyes in a public area.
Now before this gig, my average commute to distant clients required me to travel which would involve flying on Sunday night or Monday morning, 5 to 7 hours average. home door to destination airport.
Many times I would have accommodations within 10-15 minutes drive to the client so total travel time at the beginning of the week was less the 5/12 to less than 7-1/2 hours.
Returning home on Thursday night (not very often) or Friday afternoon (most likely) and work 8 hours of Friday – however the travel was usually much longer due to weather conditions, if lucky 6 hours – if not, 12 to 18 hours (which was the norm 75% of the time)…
Most commonly accompanied by a nap on an airport chair or floor, or nearby hotel…
Monday through Friday would find me awake between 4 and 4:30 am, immediately popping open the computer, and retiring for the day between 11 pm and midnight.
Personal time was saved for the 45 to 90 minutes for dinner – the balance of the near 17 to 18-1/2 hours was consumed by meetings, conference calls, and whatever else needed to be accomplished.
Total time devoted weekly business would be between 70 and 85 hours, plus travel time… with a total time vested just for work being 75-1/2 to 103 hours per week…
For the full-time employee, the time devoted to producing a paycheck consumes most of their waking hours – and travel to the place of work can add a few hours a week for those living near their place of employment or their client(s). For others, the travel can add as much as another full working day — or more — to the work week.
From the connections I have on social media, it is not uncommon to be investing 2, 2-1/2 to 3 hours a day, just in commuting — if you are investing less, then count your blessings.
You do the math from their but it is safe to say most are investing 20 to 25% of their time for work no matter how many hours they work.
So what’s up with having a home office?
As for a home office, I have had several clients I have never met.
Depending on the client, we had worked together for a few months to more than a year.
I rise every morning at between 2 and 4:30 am (that doesn’t mean everyone who has a home office needs to) and I’m at my desk shortly after a quick breakfast and coffee.
Lunch as scheduled (usually 20 to 35 minutes), and then continue working until it was time for me to either cook dinner for me and my wife unless she wants to cook (we both love to cook).
After dinner, more personal chores then I would return to my office while she pumps NetFlix for her favorite entertainment while we would have a date night a couple of times during the work week.
I will continue to work until midnight, taking a break as my wife retires for the night (sorry, no details here, HA!).
Total hours at my desk? Usually 12 to 17 hours a day, or 60 to 85 a week…
Commuting from the kitchen or bedroom — about 30 seconds, or about 5 minutes a week.
Difference? I actually was able to enjoy the harvest of my labors for a change.
Overall, from my experience, my clients that allowed me my to home office were happier clients and we were able to maintain good relationship.
My wife is happier as well.
I was no longer a transient that arrived for weekends or late week nights.
From my experience, it is no myth that the happiest employees are those that have a balanced life between work and home.
Here are some of the more common myths I have heard…
Myth #1 — An employee will be slack
If someone at home office has enough time to be slack, then someone at the work office has not provided enough work and a more than reasonable timelines for deliverables.
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Also, anyone that works from home understands they can be replaced faster than if working in the office — there are many people willing to work from home than work at the office.
The onus when working from a home office is on performance and timely deliverables.
Myth #2 — There is a disconnect between those working at the office and those working at home
Many have discovered it is good to bring the home worker into the office once or twice a week — or if travel is necessary, some companies will form cells of groups to minimize that travel so they can meet via video conference.
Many others who work from home want to make a weekly appearance in the work place.
What I hear most often in conversations that involve at least one person who has or is working from this home office is, “I know how you feel because I felt the same way so let me share what I found out…”
Most of the times, organizations are happy to find out they can not only build their relationships stronger but the productivity level will go up as well.
Myth #3 — the technological means is not always available
With the technical advantage having moved from of e-mail and SMS to collaboration sites that include web conferencing, Skype, ooVoo, WebEx, Citrix, Windows Meeting Space and SharePoint, and/or internal social media platforms keeps expensive overhead down!
The move to the cloud has made it nearly impossible to not collaborate elsewhere — about the only problem that still exists are poor internet service areas of the developing countries as well as others, like Brazil, who are not quite there yet unless you live in one of the larger cities.
Many managers and directors I have talked with, and many of the articles I have read have noted that there is less monitoring needed with those that work from a home office.
Now this could be a result of “out of sight, out of mind” scenario, but we cannot argue that it focuses BOTH the worker and the supervisor on the task at hand instead of what someone is doing.
Myth #4 — productivity will slack, quality will decline, deliverables will be late
See myths #1, 2, and 3…
The Last Word
Please feel free to comment below or contact me, share your experiences — good, bad, or indifferent.
My clients range from very large corporations (like Lubrizol, Waste Management, Walgreens) to small and medium-sized businesses.
The ideas may need some adaptation to cultural differences as well as internet connection quality, but the concepts and principles are global.
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Garrett is the publisher, editor, writer forThe HRIS World Research Group, which includes The HRIS World, The HRIS World Research, The HRIS World Jobs, The HRIS World News, and The HRIS World Videos
With more than 20 years in roles as a client executive sponsor (#thwCES), project manager as well as functional / technical lead, Garrett is sought for his expertise for project insights, thought leadership, and team management globally.
He has been involved in large-scale and complex implementations since 1991 and has recently moved his operations to be with his wife in Brazil.
Garrett has had the pleasure of working with some of the greatest talents in the industry, and constantly shares his experiences and knowledge through content and webinars.
He maintains his fluency in Portuguese, German, French, and English with his various endeavors and contacts..
When not working, you will have to be adventurous to stay up with him as Garrett loves motorcycling, gunnery, boating, sailing, flying, and sports fishing -- and accompanying his wife on her various likes
About The HRIS World Research Group
The HRIS World blog, which is read by more than 50,000 from more than 160 countries monthly, manages to have more than 550,000 pages viewed monthly. 40%+ of the audience are decision-makers in their organization (and about half of that being C-levels!).
As CEO for CGServices USA Inc, he focuses on multi-provider, multi-line implementations consultation for HRIS systems
Council and Education Member of Gerson Lehrman Group Council, helping institutions of the world leaders meet, engage and manage experts across a wide range of sectors and disciplines.
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