How to Gain Freedom and Flexibility from Work

Do you really want to work at home or is there something better? I would like to encourage you to look deeper at working remotely, where ever that may be. It may be better to strive for Workplace Freedom & Flexibility than just to say I want to work from home.

Home Office

Let’s call this Workplace Freedom & Flexibility…….”Work-Free-Flex”

What is Work-Free-Flex?

Work-Free-Flex is the goal to create freedom and flexibility no matter where you office from.

Do you work at a traditional office, out of the house, both the office and the house or even work remotely anywhere in the world?

There are potential problems if you make your life’s goal to just be able to work from home.

Can Working from Home become a Nightmare?

YES!

I would like to open everyone’s eyes up to some problems with working from home.Working Alone

  • You may get tired of working alone.
  • You may take advantage of the freedom and not get your work accomplished.
  • Will your family be too noisy?
  • Do you have a quiet place to work, where you can be left alone?
  • Will you become the errand person and be taken advantage of just because it’s easier for you to go get something?
  • You may find that you get depressed not being around people.
  • You might find that you work longer hours and get less sleep because you can’t drive home and leave your work at the office.
  • What about having people close by in an office where it’s easier to ask questions and get help.
  • Will you learn as much at home as you would in an office with colleagues around?

I hope you’re getting the picture now. Working at home is not all a bed of roses. There are several pitfalls that you may run into and I definitely ran into.

All I wanted to do in this section is to make you aware of potential problems of working at home. Working at home is not for everyone. Now, I would like to introduce you to a better idea.

My Goal is to Have Freedom and Flexibility Wherever I Work

The goal should not be to escape a workplace or only work in one location because there is much more going on here then that. Some people may never have the ability to work solely from home. Some people may not want to ever work from home so let’s open up this discussion a lot wider.

Let’s look to create the Workplace Freedom and Flexibility wherever we are.

  • Find ways to create freedom and flexibility.Briefcase
    • Work from a laptop.
    • Get all of you work material, manuals, plans, files onto your laptop or server you can connect to.
    • Start working on the people around you to accept flexible work situations when there is a snow storm, a family emergency, pregnancy, etc.
  • Start talking with management about allowing more flexibility.
    • Will they consider flexible work hours, primarily when to arrive at work and leave?
    • Does your company have a policy in place that they can stand behind when some people can be trusted and others have proven they abuse the flexibility and freedom?
    • Can your company walk away from a zero tolerance policy and allow freedom based on the individual and not create policies because they don’t want to address one or two people?

These are some simple things to start with and then build on to create a more flexible environment.

Let’s get to the ultimate idea of Work-Free-Flex. The best way I know how to do this is to show you what it means to me now and what I would like it to be in the future.

Work-Free-Flex

I have been working at home for the past 8 years and have learned a lot about myself and what works best for me. I’m not going to go through everything I learned other than to tell you how I have transitioned from just working at home to Work-Free-Flex.

My Current Work Environment:

  • I have three offices
    • Company office
    • Home office
    • Remote office – I can work anyplace I can sit my laptop down.
  • I have chosen to work 2 two 4 days in the company office each week but those days always vary.
  • I can choose when I come to work and leave work to miss the rush hour traffic.
  • My company does not judge me on how many hours I work, but on the quality of work I produce and meeting project deadlines.

This is perfect for me now as my wife and I have two kids who live at home. One is a junior in high school and the other is a sophomore in college. Both of my kids are becoming extremely independent and they aren’t running to the door screaming Daddy, Daddy, Daddy every time I come home! It is truly sad.

Dad playing with kids

This work schedule is extremely freeing and flexible. I feel so relaxed and at peace knowing I don’t have to be at a particular place or time unless I have a meeting or need to work with someone else in the company. It’s also nice because no one in my company gives me any grief when I chose to work at home.

My one word of caution here is you better meet your obligations and know the times you should be at one place or the other.

My Future Work Environment:

The future goal for my work space will be significantly different.RV

  • I will have a private home office where I can close out the noise if needed.
  • I plan on buying an RV or Sprinter van to travel and to office out of.
  • I think it would be good to have a community office some place where people can get away to if there is no company office to go to.
  • My goal is to transition to on-line business and someday chose to be truly free.

This is more of a semi-retirement plan where my wife and I choose to travel places all around the world. The goal will be to set myself up to work wherever we are. I would like to eliminate the need to hurry back home to get work accomplished. If we choose to stay in a new location for several months, then that will be home and work will continue.

My social life will continue to be my wife, children, extended family and new friends where ever we find ourselves.

My Final Thoughts on Workplace Freedom and Flexibility

Even though I have some experience working at home, I surely don’t have it all figured out. I have learned one thing though, and that is to test out my ideas ahead of time and always be flexible in how things actually do turn out, which I hope will help me to continue to feel free.

 

 

 

 

10 Comments on “How to Gain Freedom and Flexibility from Work”

  1. Hi Rick,

    I work from home myself and the problems you list are very real. I have to leave the house sometimes just to make sure it is not a hologram I am seeing out through my windows. I find your social skills reduce somewhat as well as you are literally living inside your head all day long.

    I definitely liked your suggestions on how to gain freedom and flexibility from work where ever you are and it is very important to switch up your environment whenever you can if the current one is not conducive for such.

    Thank you once again Rick.

    1. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your experiences. I think working at home or remotely is the greatest thing ever but it does have it’s challenges. I hope to encourage people to set their sites on working remotely but to not go into it blindly.

  2. Hello Rick! I love how you take the idea of work from home and transition it into work-free-flex! That is so much more accurate! I, too, enjoy the life available via the work-free-flex schedule! But… I do tend to get a lot more work accomplished when I am away from my home. It seems that laundry and dishes are just screaming my name when I do attempt to work at home! ((: Great insight… really enjoyed your article! ((:

    1. I’m sorry but you made me chuckle a little about the laundry and dishes. It’s amazing how much more I am asked to do around the house because I am at home and I must have plenty of time on my hands, especially considering I don’t have the drive time to and from work any more.

      I agree that everyone is different and every situation and you may find it’s better to be at an office but I just hope that people can find ways to build in some flexibility and in tern enjoy their career and life more and maybe even become more productive.

  3. Hey Rick,

    Awesome concept of being able to have freedom and have a job. I didn’t know that this type of option existed. That would be incredibly to have a mobile office you can work out of.

    If your current job doesn’t offer this, how to do broach the topic with your boss?

    1. It doesn’t exist a lot in the engineering world but more and more companies are starting to work with some of their people remotely.

      The way I started to bring it up was making sure I had a laptop and then convinced my company to let people work from home on days when a snow storm was going to hit or if they got sick but they still wanted to get some things done at home. I had to convince the company to agree to an amount of work they expected to be finished when the employee came back to work. The biggest problem that people have to get over is they have to switch their thinking from hours in a chair to production and quality of work.

      The next thing I did was I looked for a company who was more progressive and we worked out the remote details and came to an agreement before I started my first day there. I also brought a technician with me so his remote agreement and equipment was also part of the deal.

      Honestly, what my technician and I were able to arrange was a fantastic deal and fortunately, I see more companies being open to that than ever before. The only issue is that every company is different and has different needs. Some companies just cannot allow people to work at home, like restaurants. The question then becomes, can you find a company that will allow it, or can you make a lateral shift in the company and work for a different department or even leave for another company that has the flexibility to allow remote working conditions?

      These are some tough questions and even more difficult to get some companies to consider but it can be done. It just depends on how hard a person is willing to work or willing to change to make it happen.

  4. I used to work from home for years before I retired.
    It wasn’t easy and I had to be disciplined to get my work done.
    Without a plan it’s very hard to do. You have to separate work time from social time.
    It’s very easy to be distracted from so many things.
    But if your plan is detailed and you stick to it, it can work. I always set aside time to take breaks but always keep to my schedule.
    Do you agree that if something isn’t working to make a change?

    1. I absolutely agree that you will need to make many changes if you choose to work remotely.

      I have worked at home 90% of the time or more for the last 8 years and I have learned so much about myself during that time. I work well at home but there are times I need to collaborate with my colleagues or go to a surprise meeting and I’ll need to be ready to respond quickly. 

      That brings me to the latest thing I am working on changing. It actually was a recent comment on an article of mine where the gentleman said he learned that he needed to get dressed for work in the morning, even though that work would be performed at home. That helped him to increase his performance but the other side of it I am looking at is the response time is much better if I need to leave the house quickly but am already dressed.

      Jumping in the shower and getting out of my shorts and t-shirt and into my dress clothes is at least a 30 minute delay. I love working remotely but I understand I will be constantly “tweaking” things for the remainder of my life.

  5. Excellent and eye-opening post! Thanks for sharing this!

    It’s definitely good to remember that while working from home has a lot of advantages, and can be a blessing, it’s definitely draining in its own ways, and shouldn’t be entered lightly.

    Self-motivation is 100% necessary. I really appreciate that you’ve articulated that it’s so important to keep in contact with others, and to also change up the environment and get out of the house. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you for your comments. The things I discussed in this post are not things I would have written 8 years ago. My experience working at home has taught me many things and a lot of those things are about my self. I have found what works best for me and everyone needs to be open and flexible as they start venturing out into the remote work environment.

      I love working remotely but there is so much more to it then I originally imagined.

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