A Changed Work World for the Stay-at-Home Mom

I read a really interesting article on a blog called Pick the Brain.

The post addresses how at an increasing rate, with the aid of technology, people are working in non-traditional situations, often from remote locations. The blog makes this point:

In the case of the modern information worker, nearly all tasks involve creative or strategic thinking. The way someone answers an email or interprets a piece of information can differ drastically depending on his or her energy level. Nobody does their best work 5:30 in the afternoon after they’ve been sucking down coffee all day to stay awake.”

I agree.

Pick the Brain argues that most people aren’t continually effective on an 8 hour schedule, that there are peaks and vallies throughout the day. I would agree with this. Why be at work during the vallies and cause the employer to have to pay for that time? I think they put it well when they state it this way,

When workers reach the low energy part of the cycle, they can’t recharge with a non-work activity. The only option is office purgatory. You can’t be highly productive because you’re mentally fatigued, but you can’t recharge because the 8 hour work day requires the appearance of constant productivity. The result is millions of unproductive workers trapped at their desks when they’d rather be doing something else.”

I would also argue that what may be a typically productive time of day for one person, may not one for another. Why not tailor your work day to the hours you work best? Middle of the night? Early in the morning? After lunch until prime-time? When the kids are napping? After they go to bed? You get the point.

Why does this topic interest a non-working, stay-at-home mother of two toddlers? For a few reasons:

1. Even though the technology was not there when I was younger… I ALWAYS pictured working from home via computer and video conference. It was a rare occasion if I pictured it differently.

2. Withen 3 years of joining the career driven workforce, I started working from home via computer and occasional meetings at starbucks :).

3. Should I ever rejoin the workforce, it will be from home. It will be via computer, video conference etc. The schedule will fit into times when I am not taking care of and/or educating my children.

In an article from the Los Angelas Times, by James Flanigan, posted on AOL Jobs entiteled Working at Home Pays Off for Firms.

Flanigan uses a case study from Jet Blue. He points out,

JetBlue has 700 reservation agents working from their abodes (one pictures them sitting there in their robes and slippers, the fridge just a few feet away) with company-supplied personal computers and second phone lines.

To be sure, their wages of $8.50 to $10 an hour are way above the $2 to $3 a day that call-center operators in India and the Philippines often earn.”

Jet Blues Chief Executive David Needleman shares,

“With home working you get more mature people who stay with you,” he says. “There isn’t constant turnover.” What’s more, he adds, employees who take care of business from home tend to “feel better” about their jobs, boosting productivity by an estimated 25 percent.”

Flanigan also uses AT&T to illustrate the benefits of “homesourcing” workers.

“AT&T Corp., for its part, reported that last year it “received over $180 million in operating benefit from telework” — tasks performed away from the office by U.S.-based network planners, human-resources managers, sales personnel and others. With fewer corporate facilities to buy and furnish, real-estate savings accounted for a significant portion of the number.

The advantages for companies employing people to work at home continue to grow along with technological developments. Though not all jobs can be sourced from home, (eg. doctors, pilots, regulated companies, etc,) Many jobs can, and many employers are thinking out of “the box”.

I have the ability to stay home and not work right now and gladly accept it. But someday my children will be a little older, I will be done having more, and my driven brain will not going to cease to exist! At this point I know I will love working from home again, to what capacity? I am not sure. But I’m EXTREMELY thankful that we now live in a world capeable of it.

The Pick the Brain blog sums it up by saying,

Forty years from now we’ll be telling our grandchildren about the olden days when everyone’s mommy and daddy went to work in an office.

He’s probably right!


7 Responses to “A Changed Work World for the Stay-at-Home Mom”

  1. 1 Anne Weakley May 24, 2007 at 3:18 pm

    By the time I get a chance to respond to your entries – you have added a new one!!:) So – after this, I will go back through and add my thoughts on the others:). Very interesting article! I completely agree the benefits to working at home are many. I personally do best working before anyone else is awake – how wonderful to be able to tailor your own schedule from home!

  2. 2 bd May 24, 2007 at 3:27 pm

    working in the middle of the night is great. There are nearly no distractions. No emails or phone calls. Prime productivity time.

  3. 3 nicole fortunato May 24, 2007 at 3:38 pm

    hasten the day when i find that ‘out of the box’ company!!! i am not made to warm a seat and have been much more productive working at jobs when i could skip working on a thursday for the beach and work saturday morning if i felt like it. i do know some people like the structure of an office to ‘go’ to. it’s not me. i have to fight unproductivity because of the 8-hour sit-at-your-desk mandate. one day soon though, i will break freeeeeeeeeeee… good post ej. makes me feel a little less crazy.

  4. 4 Kelly W May 24, 2007 at 6:35 pm

    Great article. My Rock Star and I have pretty much decided that he will work from home after our as-yet-to-be-conceived children come along. I am in nursing school right now, and a big part of my decision was the possibility of night shifts. Every single hospital in our valley has multiple openings for 3-night weekend shifts, and that is exactly what I would prefer. Time will tell.
    Anyway, thanks for linking to the article.

  5. 5 tieki rae May 24, 2007 at 9:23 pm

    This is a really encouraging trend! I think personally I would enjoy working from home 3-4 days of the week and maybe visiting the office 1-2 days. After all, I’m not too great at being in the same place all the time. 🙂 Either way, I can’t think of a better trend as far as “feminism” is concerned. The work-from-home option provides a great alternative to women who do not want to place their career over their children, but at the same time have some desire to work.

  6. 6 misi May 25, 2007 at 8:23 am

    Well for me that would be ideal because I am not fortunate enough to have a choice when it comes to career or babies, I have to work. There is just no way my family could function w/out my income. I have heard other stay at homes moms say it is a sacrifice suggesting I just don’t want to give up my quality of life but MY reality is I am the primary bread-winner in my family right now so I literally can’t not work. Every morning when I leave it feels as if my heart is ripping out of my chest but I do it for my son. All day long I wait for the time I can leave and it feels like I haven’t seen my son in a week. All that said, I think sometimes I am a better mom because of it because I never need a break cuz I get one 8hrs a day,5 days a week:)
    If anyone knows of a stable company that you can work from home in- I would be very interested.

  7. 7 Defiant_Infidel May 29, 2007 at 7:16 am

    Interesting and true.

    My wife is a CPA and she frequently works online from our home office rather than attempt to get through bad winter snowstorms to her office 29 miles away.

    I am self employed and also work whatever schedule from day to day works best with my other duties (both on the home front and I am a Landlord, too). I will frequently work beginning at 1 or 2 AM when it is super hot during the summer. That way, when it gets real hot by late morning, I go home and throw on the AC and go to bed!

    It does take a keen sense of responsibility to set your own hours and work schedule. For many, that is the biggest reason it won’t fly. But for those who can supervise themselves to produce, it is a real God send!

    One other thing, Elizabeth… You and caring parents like you WORK HARD! As I’m sure you know so well, raising your children is far from “non-working”! It is a tremendous undertaking and responsibility. This country would be 180° from where it is if the last generation (in many instances, our parents, unfortunately) had spent more serious time raising their children with real instruction, discipline and values.

    Tradition and the actual differences between right and wrong began a slow, withering death when parenting became less of a popular sport. This was the birth of everything being basically grey and “OK”. Lack of responsibility and accountability, appeasement, excuses and apathy became acceptable. Then they grew up and became liberals. Now they are having children and, in many cases, “raising” more do nothing clones. It is a distinct, mappable downward spiral that we battle at every signicant corner today and its’ proliferation is disturbing with wide impact in most aspects of modern life.

    Thanks to you and your husband for not joining the decline!

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