In my first two posts about my new job I talked about the benefits of great outside consultants and some basic SEO, this post is more about the problems and advantages of working from home even when you have loads of things that need sorting and you need to manage your office based telesales team. I have worked from home for the last three years in a sales role, now I have a sales and management role this is very different.
Working from home is not as easy as it sounds, particularly if you have a young family (7 and 5) like I do. Distractions are everywhere, the kids coming home from school, the wife coming in too have a chat the football on the TV well you get the drift.
I think the key to working from home is to have a strict regime whereby you get into the office at 9.00 or earlier and work through to the time you should finish. Quite often people who work from home will work at weekends or in the evening as well. I have known a lot of sales people who work from home, most of them are diligent and have a routine, a few do not but ultimately the figures never lie.
My new job running the online properties for TSP LTD is a challenging but fun role. I work in the office two to three days a week and either at home or on the road the rest of the week. One of my key jobs is to ensure the sales team are making calls and hitting target. I am also working with the web development teams and the seo teams.
Managing an office based sales team whilst working from home
This is always easy, it depends on how your office is set up and the individual sales people’s motivation. I am fortunate that my company use a cloud based CMS system so I can see what calls have been made, how effective these calls have been and the number of sales made. As little as 5 years ago it would have been very hard to do this remotely.
If someone is having a good day (I do check regularly if any of my team are reading this) I will just drop a little email over to praise them. This has two advantages it lets them know that I am aware of what they are doing and that I appreciate their hard work, they also know that I am not just sitting on my arse watching the football.
The key to managing a team when you are working from home is to let them know that your on the ball, it also helps that the team is sitting in the same office as the Md who likes to be on the sales floor as much as possible.
Why work from home at all?
I work from home for two reasons:
- It is a lot less distracting working at home rather than in the office, no one will stop for a chat so if there are is anything I need to do that takes concentration I will try to do it at home. My family knows that when I am in the office and working they should not disturb me, on the whole they are good at this.
- I have a 35 mile commute and my wife works shifts as a nurse so I need to drop the kids at school occasionally. To me working from home helps in my work life balance, I may occasionally start at 9.30 however I would guess I work about 5-10 hours a week extra.
When I am in the office I tend to get my development and SEO work sorted. I am still a salesman with a target so I need to get my sales calls and meetings sorted, I tend to do these at home more than in the office.
The Pros and Cons of working from home
Pros of working from home
- Work life balance
- Less disruptions in the average day
- Get work done out of hours easily if all the tools are at hand
- More freedom if you need it
Cons of working from home
- Harder to manage your team effectively
- If you need to speak to someone its harder over the phone than face to face
- Cannot have meetings easily
With modern technologies such as cloud based CRM and CMS systems, online meeting platforms and Skype it is easier than ever to work effectively from home. If you have the discipline and option to work from home give it a try it’s a great way to manage your work life balance.
Have you worked from home? What problems have you encountered or would you like to please let me know in the comments.