Imagine waking up in the morning and not having to battle rush hour traffic to get to work. This is Tracy Glover’s reality. Tracy is the director of quality with the Atlanta-based design firm VeenendaalCave, Inc. Glover, who typically works from home four days a week and goes into the office for one day, has been teleworking for the past 12 years. During a recent interview, she shared her work from home
story with me.
MNN: How did you start teleworking?
Tracy Glover: I started teleworking in 1999, but I'll give you a bit of history as to how this all began.
Our company offers an 80 percent program which I started in 1996 after the birth of my first child. This meant I worked 32 hours/week instead of the standard 40, choosing to work M-Th with Fridays off. After the birth of my second child in 1999, I decided I couldn't juggle the demands of being a "working" mom because I wanted to be the best I could be at both, and ultimately one of these roles would suffer. So I decided to leave work and focus on my children and my family. I'd been with the company five years at this point and invested a lot of time and effort. I started as a staff designer and worked my way up to a project manager, then design team director and then associate. I loved my job and the people I worked for and with, and had put in many hours over the years to establish the position I was in. To walk away from it all was not going to be easy. It was the collaborative efforts of Ed Cave and Christine Veenendaal (the president and executive vice president) to create a new position for me so I could remain a part of their "family" and still dedicate the time I needed to my own family. So this "telecommute" position was created.
What does your job entail?
My title is director of quality. We are a design firm whose services include interior planning and design services to corporate, industrial and health care clients. We work with property managers and business owners to develop and plan their interior spaces. My primary role is to oversee all construction documents that are issued for permit. On average, I review anywhere from 25-50 sets of construction documents per month. In order to do this, I must have Internet access so I can communicate with the office. I also have direct access to the company's network so I can download these documents. I also have and require a computer, a printer, a telephone, and all the necessary software. Once the drawings are complete, I receive an email; I download the files, print the drawings, review the plans, then coordinate with the designers as needed. This coordination can be an email, a phone call, or a transmittal of drawings via courier or email.
How does it feel to not have to battle Atlanta traffic daily?
Fabulous! My round trip is about 52 miles which can range from two to four hours in the car per day depending on traffic. With gas prices alone, that's a huge cost savings, and being available those two to four hours for "billable" purposes is much more effective for the company and me!
When asked about the benefits of teleworking, Glover named several including:
Time management — less time in the car means more time to work or take care of family responsibilities
Being there when her children get home from school
Being more available to the designers on staff at VeenendaalCave, Inc.
Although Glover enjoys working from home, it isn’t without its challenges. “The biggest challenge is maintaining personal office relationships. I communicate with most everyone on a weekly basis, but not seeing faces and interacting one-on-one reduces those more personal relationships you form.”
With 12 years of teleworking under her belt, Glover is definitely an expert on working from home. In closing, I asked her what advice she would offer to someone who is just beginning to telework.
“You have to be dedicated, have excellent time-management skills, a willingness to be flexible with your schedule and you should enjoy what you do. There isn't a job I'd enjoy more, and the company I work for is amazing, and those two components make the dedication to my job and those I work for ... EASY!”
Glover is working from home and loving it.