Culture is the new employment buzzword. In a nutshell, it encompasses the type of environment people look for when they look for traditional employment. Studies have shown that Millennials, the current largest section of the workforce, want to work for someplace that provides them with more than a paycheck. They want to work somewhere that they enjoy and that makes a difference. A recent article published on Forbes.com discusses how many companies are changing how they do business in order to attract and keep top talent.
You’re thinking, “That’s nice, Robin…but what in the hell does this have to do with self-employment?”
I’ll tell you. It has everything to do with it. You’re both an employer and an employee. Your culture will make or break your experience when you work from home.
What in the Hell is Culture, Anyway?
Okay, so I’m obviously not talking about art, music, and theater…or bacteria. When it comes to where someone works, culture can be defined as the beliefs and values of a business. The bad news is that culture is a broad concept. The good news is that culture is a broad concept.
Defining Your Work from Home Culture
To properly define your work from home culture, sit down somewhere quiet and have something to take notes with. It doesn’t matter if it’s a notebook or a laptop – just choose whatever works best for you.
First, think back to before you started working from home. Write down the main reasons why you wanted to work from home. For me, it was to have a comfortable environment and to be available when / if my children needed me. Your list doesn’t have to be long. It’s also fine if you had lots of reasons. However, I want you to focus on the main reasons why you wanted to make a change.
Next, think about some of the things that you’ve learned about working from home that you really enjoy. I’ve had many eye opening revelations during the last four years. I like having the time to make good food. I like being able to go to the gym. I have a client who has two offices: one in France and one in Silicon Valley. He is French. When we were first involved in negotiations, he made it clear to me that if I was tired and felt like I needed to take a nap in the middle of the day, I should stop and do that. He believes that happy workers are loyal. He’s right – although I am not much of a napper.
Finally, think about some of things that you want to go out and do. Do you want to get involved in tutoring? Do you want to volunteer for Junior Achievement and talk to students about business and careers? Maybe you want to spend more time volunteering with your church. Write those ideas down.
A key to all of these items is to not write down so much that you overwhelm yourself. Then, take the information you’ve written down and define your culture.
For me: Black Moth Media is a family and client centered business that believes in healthy life choices and volunteering time and talent to make a difference in the lives of others. That might not seem very exciting to you, but it is everything to me. You can make yours as plain or as colorful as you’d like.
Why Is Culture Important When You Work from Home?
Okay, so we get to do what we want, when we want…why is culture important when you work from home? Well, because we work from home types are notorious for having good intentions for ourselves and not following through. When was the last time you did whatever it was you wanted to do when you first started working from home?
Putting a statement of culture in writing can be very powerful. It reminds you of why you started this crazy journey in the first place and you’re more apt to go out and do the things that you wanted to do. When you work from home, it’s important that you take time to do things you like. It minimizes burnout (if you strive to live through your statement of culture). So, having your statement of culture is important because it reminds you to take care of you…because without you, there’s no business.