A Peek at the Work From Home Mom’s Diary
Call me A[name omitted]. I’m a full time mom to a feisty toddler by day and full time writer by night. I’ve been doing this for more than two years now and won’t trade it for anything else. But let me tell you this: life as an outsourced employee is no bed of roses.Cultural Differences
For one, there’s the
cultural differences that one needs to adjust to when you have an American boss. Unlike working 9 to 5 for a local company or agency in the Philippines, doing online work is very different. Think of yourself as one of Charlie’s Angels â€“ you receive instructions via email, an mp3 file or a video, and you’re expected to carry out those instructions and accomplish your task for the day.
Learn To Speak Up
American bosses naturally assume that you follow what they’re saying or that you know exactly what they’re talking about. If you don’t send an email or a skype message to clarify or ask questionsâ€“ you’re toast! They’re not going to be sympathetic that you weren’t able to finish your assignment because you did not understand the instructions. The lesson here is to speak up and ask relevant questions, or you’ll never get any work done.
Difficulties Of The Virtual Workplace
Second major area of adjusment is the virtual workplace. I’m not sure if foreign employers are aware that Filipinos are â€œpack workersâ€. They thrive on the office atmosphere and camaraderie with fellow workers. They take their lunch break and coffee breaks together and send each other silly messages via messenger during work hours. Some people may say that this hampers productivity, but this is one of the things that I had to adjust to when I started working for John. The rest of the team worked their own schedules and I found myself the only one online late at night when I do most of my writing. The team is dispersed in different parts of the archipelago, so it was not easy to set up a team building session or ask one of the girls to have coffee.
Fortunately, John set up occasions for all of us to meet and get to know each other. These several days off are blissful (yes, no work), fun and very fruitful in terms of building camaraderie and team spirit.
Maintaining Productivity For Virtual Employees
The third major area of adjustment for virtual employees is productivity. Since there is no physical office and no hands on managers and supervisors to check your work, it’s up to you to make sure that you work your full eight hours. There are no quotas or number of words to be met in my case, but I had to take the initiative and set one for myself. For example, I know I’m slacking if I don’t even manage to finish one product review or article in one day. My target is at least three, and that’s something that I try to meet day in and day out.
The good thing about John though, is that he won’t berate you for not working. However, it doesn’t mean that he doesn’t notice. When work is slow or productivity is low, there will be a reminder email sent to all members of the team. He won’t single anyone out, but as a professional, you should own up and send a reply.
Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone
Fourth and most important thing to remember when you’re on John Jonas’ team is be prepared to step out of your comfort zone. You won’t be doing one task over and over again for years. Instead, brace yourself for challenging tasks and varying assignments that will push your creativity and determination. The company is growing, the clients’ demands are ever changing, and each team member must grow as well.
I start my work day around 4 or 5 in the afternoon and I log off at around 2 or 3 in the morning. I see my daughter every day â€“ I get to hold her, play with her and teach her to count and read. If I was working a regular office job I would miss out on all of these things and still not earn as much.
Raise Children, Work Virtually
I am grateful for the opportunity to work in John’s team and I encourage other Moms to give outsourced work a try. We can work hard and earn money the smart way without sacrificing our primary role â€“ raising our children well.
PS. Her email to me about this post said: