For Shelley Grandy, one of the best parts of working from home is the time she saves commuting – especially in the winter. “Not having to commute on snow days, I feel extremely smug,” says Grandy, president of Grandy Public Relations, which is based out of her home in Erin, Ontario, about 80 kilometres northwest of Toronto. “I listen to the traffic reports, thinking, ‘Thank goodness I’m not out there!’”
For the past seven years, her commute has involved walking from the master bedroom to the office located in the loft in her country home, sometimes tailed by her two dogs and one cat. Grandy admits that work-from-home life suits her – she can focus, she can multi-task and she doesn’t miss the company. The main downside is not having an IT department to fix her printer, which recently broke.
Just because you can work from home doesn’t mean you’ll be any good at it. It can get lonely, it can be hard to focus and it can be hard to maintain work-life balance, which may be the most difficult thing to navigate.
An increasing number of people are giving up the corner office for the home office. About 11 percent of Canadians, or roughly 1.7 million people, work from home, up from 1.4 million in 2000, according to Statistics Canada. While approximately 15 percent of Canadians are self-employed and account for about half of those who work from home, other studies show that more employers are allowing their staff to stay home, too.
However, just because you can work from home doesn’t mean you’ll be any good at it, says Eileen Dooley, vice-president at Calgary-based career consulting company Gilker McRae. It can get lonely, it can be hard to focus and it can be hard to maintain work-life balance, which, to Salvatore Ciolfi, executive content producer at job-hunting website Workopolis, may be the most difficult thing to navigate. “Yes, there’s no commute, but the bad thing is that you’re always in the office,” he says.
So how can people make plugging away from the home office work? Here are some tips.