John Halleron, 68

Business adviser from Baldwinsville talks about working from home

By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

Q: When did you start working at home?

A: St. Patrick’s Day, March 17. We were told to ‘get out.’

Q: Had you ever worked at home before?

A: No, I have not.

Q: What are your typical job duties and how does working at home affect accomplishing these tasks?

A: Fortunately, most of the work involves editing busines plans, and doing projections, which can be done anywhere. The biggest liability is I can’t see and talk to my clients face to face. I’m kind of a visual sort of guy and I like the interaction. It’s a lot easier to find a common ground — and I do that with all my clients — when you’re sitting across the table from them.

Q: What has been the most challenging about working at home?

A: We have office meetings via Zoom both with Office of Business and Community Relations and my Small Business Development Center crew, where you at least get to see someone but it’s not the same. A lot of the stuff you need is up in the office. You don’t have it at home, like paper files.

Q: Did you have a learning curve when you started working at home?

A: I had used Zoom before. I’ve been on a few different platforms, though Zoom is the most popular. I did Go To Meeting for my September Oswego County Micro Enterprise class.

Q: What has surprised you about working at home?

A: Saving money on gas. The biggest surprise is how you just adapt. I have a great little office set up. It’s amazing what you can do with a card table and filling cabinet. I did order a desk and chair from Amazon but Peg, my wife, is using that. We both had headsets so when we do Zoom we don’t interfere with each. She in upstairs and I’m downstairs. She is with Mercer Milling, director of safety and quality. She spends part of the day here and part at the mill.

Q: How has your work/life balance been while working at home?

A: As long as you get the job done, I find it easy to balance the work life. I haven’t had a problem with that.

Q: What do you enjoy the most about working at home?

A: I’ve actually enjoyed watching the wildlife around the house. I have a birdfeeder set up and I watch birds and squirrels coming and going. I’m communing with nature. Our dog splits her time between my wife and I as an admin assistant.

Q: Do you think in the future you will work at home at least some of the time?

A: I’m thinking that might be the ‘new normal’ I hate to say that because it’s beaten to death, but I think it will be a new way to work. People can do the same amount of work at home. It’s easier without the stress of commuting and travel. I’d love to spend part of the time in the office and part of the time at home.

Q: Do you think that the pandemic may be viewed as a paradigm shift as to where businesses want their employees work? 

A: If I had a young child or elder I was caring for, I’d love the ability to stay home, do my job and be available. A lot of employers are seeing this as a viable solution. If the work gets done, it gets done and they’re doing their job. If it doesn’t get done, you may have to look at another alternative.