Working From Home… Is It Something I Can Do?

Mary-Anne Blount, CPA, MBA & Financial Project Manager, shares her ‘working from home’ insights and how she has made it work for her for over 5 years while working for VERVE’s Fortune 50 clients who have a remote work environment.

Mary-Anne joined our VERVE team in 2012, bringing a strong focus on financial management, internal controls and client success. In her role as Financial Project Manager, Mary-Anne works with organizations to understand the strategic initiatives and challenges and develops solutions that contribute to their success. Mary-Anne has a background in accounting, finance, audit, internal controls, M&A due diligence and integration, strategic planning and project management. Prior to VERVE, Mary-Anne had a very successful career within the financial services, manufacturing and consulting industries.

Mary-Anne shares:

“I have been working from home for 5+ years and wasn’t sure I could. looked at all the distractions around a house like laundry or picking up after the kids/pets. Friends who think you are always available to chat or go out which is not the case. There was the concern that I’ll miss the socialization that takes place in the office.

All of these concerns can be circumvented and life can become a lot nicer and less stressful with the elimination of a long commute, horrible weather or scheduling a doctor’s appointment. Without the commute, you buy yourself some extra time to spend with friends and family or just to take time for yourself at the end of the day to… possibly read a book!

I found working from home can be quite fulfilling. However, I needed to create the right atmosphere to be my most productive.  Here’s what I learned.

First, you need to find a place in your home for you to be comfortable and where you can walk away from at the end of a day. After trial and error, I found that I could not set up shop and work by the kitchen – too tempting to continually go for something to eat or drink. No one wants to add on the pounds while working. Working from the family room in the basement was not optimal either even with plenty of light, I found it too depressing. What I did was to search for a spot in the house that made me feel comfortable, where the creative juices could flow and I could walk away from at the end of the day. Just like I would do if I was in an office.

Since many offices have lots of activity thus noise, being in an absolutely quiet home can become dauntingly silent. I found the TV to be too distracting and opted for soft music in the background. It helped me stay grounded in my work and avoid the distractions that can come with working from home.

Second, establishing a schedule was enormously helpful. It made me feel like I was going to an office even to the point where I would get my second cup of coffee at a particular time in the morning and then again one in mid-afternoon. It allows for the little breaks needed to get up from the desk and stretch. Sitting in one spot all day long is not good whether you work in an office or at home. During nice days or when I needed to think out an issue, a walk around the neighborhood is very mind clearing and provides a new perspective. Just getting the fresh air and vitamin D from the sun can be beneficial both to your work and health.

Socialization can continue. The use of internet-based meetings can be very powerful in connecting with others. If you need more socialization and the meeting is yours, then ask everyone to turn on their camera. It is amazing just seeing the other person can make you feel as you are in the same meeting room without being physically present. I know I have made some valued friendships through these meetings and joined these friends for events in person.

One major down fall of working from home is “just let me do one more thing,” i.e. time creep. You need to learn when to shut down the computer and walk away to your own life. Working from home means balancing your work world with your home life. This is important for your own sanity and well-being.”

VERVE’s consultants have experience working productively remotely and will integrate seamlessly with your team, to complete your projects and initiatives or business-as-usual activities.

We are here for you. Help is on the way!

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