I love Fridays. I mean, we all love Fridays, but for me they're pretty special. You see, Fridays are the day I get to be Dad.
Let me explain.
Like many of you reading this, my 40 hour work week adds up to 60+ in no time. When you include my commute, lunch, the gym, and travel, it can quickly start to feel like you’re always on to the next thing. My day starts at 5:30 AM on gym days and 6 the rest, and that typically means I'm up and out before the rest of the house even begins to stir.
Except on Fridays.
Friday is the day I work remote – more specifically work from home (I actually work remote quite a bit, usually when I’m traveling to visit customers).
My company’s mobile app, Votacall GO!, allows me to make and receive calls from my work number using my cell phone, as well as collaborate via video and text from my mobile device or computer with ease. This really affords me three things.
To give you some context, I should mention that I run our Solutions Group, which is responsible for onboarding new Votacall customers and helping them make changes as needed. That means that regardless of where I set up for the day, I’m usually moving around to manage new installs or visit existing customers.
On days that I commute into the office, I often feel like I’m rushing to do something. Don’t get me wrong – I personally like going in to be around the team and feed off their energy. But I also spend a TON of time sitting in traffic, meetings, or trying to help my team with problems that they can probably solve on their own (I’m working on that.)
When I work from home, I have more flexibility with my schedule. If I have to visit a customer site, I can plan around traffic by leaving early and working at a nearby coffee shop until my meeting. It’s also nice to go straight back to my desk at home, rather than make an extra stop at the office. This not only lowers the total time I spend traveling, it makes my day less hectic overall, which means that I spend less time settling into a work rhythm and more time actually working.
Which brings me to my next point...
Like many companies, both of our offices have open floor plans, which I have a love/hate relationship with. Like I mentioned, I like being with the rest of my team, but that comes with its’ own distractions. These usually come in the form of “side conversations,” which can range from a quick question to a full-fledged back and forth about an upcoming install. I’ll admit, even though these conversations can be initiated by anyone, I’m usually the culprit. I love to talk face to face.
When I work from home, the interactions I have with my team are scheduled and focused. Whether I’m shooting someone a quick message, calling them, or video calling if I need to have a more detailed conversation, we all know what the topic of discussion is and what we’re trying to get out of it. By setting aside blocks of time in my day to check in with my team (and other departments when I need to), I also leave the rest of the day open to focus solely on my individual to-do's.
I think we’re all familiar with how quickly lost time can add up when you’re having unscheduled conversations at work. Removing those from the equation, even for just a day per week, has been a game changer for me.
I have three kids. Raleigh, Buckley and Otis. They're 8, 6, and 5 as I write this. Their Mom drops them off and picks them up every day from school – except, you guessed it, Friday.
On Fridays, I get to drop them off and sneak out in the afternoon to pick them up. I get to meet their teachers, ask them how their day went, give them hugs hello and goodbye and tell them to “be great today”. Yes, I do actually tell them to be great today. I’m also pretty sure the hugs won’t last forever, or will at least take a multi-year hiatus sooner than I’d like.
I know there lots of great reasons people work from home. After all, the studies say: (insert all the great stats about working from home here).
For me though, this simple task of dropping off my kids and picking them up is the highlight of my week. It keeps me connected to their school life outside of parent teacher conferences. While I stand outside of their schools, I get to chat with other parents and meet the other kids I hear them and my wife talk about all the time.
Maybe you have a remote day, or maybe you work remote all the time. Or, maybe you're stuck in an office and don't get many chances to drop the kids off at school. If that’s the case, I’d encourage you to bring up the topic of work flexibility in your office. It can be a little foreign at first, but if your company does a good job of giving remote workers what they need, there’s a lot of upside to it.
Ask yourself, if your company had a mobile or remote office strategy, what would you have more time for?