This is a video from a Udemy course I created a few years ago to help people maximize their efficiency while working from remotely or from home. Instead of selling it as a paid course, I’m sharing the content here, for free. I hope you find it helpful. -Ron Stauffer
Companies with lots of employees are typically pretty proud of the environment that they’ve created for those employees. Company culture is a really big buzzword these days. So a little bit nebulous and hard to define, but what it essentially is referring to is how a company wants their work environment to feel.
Sometimes that means that they have working lunches on Tuesdays. It might mean that their office is dog friendly. It might mean that for your lunch break, you can take a bicycle ride and use the shower in the office bathroom. There are lots of things that it could mean. Some of the things that company culture refers to are unwritten.
One of those examples is alcohol. There are some companies that will actually have beer or wine in the kitchen, and you’re welcome to have it within certain parameters. There are other things like, uh, you know, how flexible you can be with when you show up and when you clock out and how long your lunch break has all of these sort of nebulous aspects of a company’s culture are very hard to control or define when you’re working from home.
So, for example, if you are coming from a company that was very cool about, you can show up at nine o’clock, 10 o’clock, 11 o’clock. We don’t care. As long as you get your work done that may or may not translate well into a work from home. Option or if, you know, at one of my previous employers, we had a time every day that we called beer 30 and that meant that starting at four 30, the fridge is open and it’s beer 30.
You can drink a beer and be on the clock and that’s totally cool. Again, that may or may not apply when you’re working from home. I think it’s really important if you have an employer to understand what their expectation is of you, when you’re on the clock, even though you’re at home, some of them might not care at all.
Some might have very strict ideas of what they’re expecting of you. So if you possibly can get that expectation set ahead of time. If you’re self employed, this actually applies to you even more because you who are working for yourself are also the employer. That means that you have to set your own standard for your own behavior.
So for me, for example, I’ve decided that I don’t have beer 30. I only drink alcohol for the most part. After I’m done with work when I clock out and then I say, work is over, then I’ll have some wine. That’s just what I’ve decided for me. And I’m not saying anybody else should do that, but I am saying that as a self employed person, you’ll start to get a sense of, can I handle this?
Can I not handle this? You know, what, what is the kind of culture think of yourself as a company? What is the kind of culture you would want if there were other people working there with you? So for me, Beer 30 is fine. That’s not my point. I’m not picking on that. I think that’s great for some people, but I can’t focus on work when I’m drinking beer.
It just doesn’t work. My attention goes so I’ve decided that for me, when I’m doing important work, I stop working. At a particular point in time, and then I might have a drink, but I can’t, I can’t let drinking happen before the day is over because I’m going to miss deadlines. Cause I just, I get so relaxed.
Then I ended up saying like, Oh, it’s not a big deal. I’ll do it tomorrow. Who cares? Well, if it was really important to me earlier in the day that I finished this particular thing, then. Who cares? I care. So I want to stay true to myself. I want to have a company culture where I’m focused on the things that I decided in the beginning of the day were important.
And I follow through with them if at all possible at the end of the day. So whether you work for somebody else or work for yourself, there are some. Sort of unquantifiable nuances to the way that you go throughout your Workday. And you’ll have to define those for yourself or get your employer to define those.
And I highly recommend you do that ahead of time.
Ron Stauffer is a solopreneur and freelancer with over 14 years of experience running a small company. He’s extremely familiar with the loneliness, frustration, and challenges unique to freelance work and running a business of one. He started Free Soloing to help other people just like him.