Since I started school, I’ve been working from home a lot – usually three days a week.
My new parent company has really encouraged working from home, so it’s a relatively serendipitous turn of events, especially after getting home at 11 PM on class nights. Not having to leave again at 6:45 the next morning means I avoid the stress of ensuring breakfast and lunch are ready to go, figuring out my clothes, repacking my bag, etc. Plus, I can sleep in a bit. And, in theory, I can work out with that extra 3 hours of my day I’m saving.
When I first started this routine, I was worried I’d become too much of a hermit. Or worse, I would epitomize the worst of The Oatmeal’s Working At Home warning.
In reality, though, I’m busy enough that it’s not really a concern. Instead, I’m coming to love my work at home days as a way to help balance work with the rest of my life. You know, like doing laundry. Plus, my house is QUIET. Often, in the afternoons as I hit my stride and am cranking through my to-do list, the only sounds in my cozy home office are my fingers flying over the (ergonomically incorrect) keyboard and the snoring of the cat. Compare this to the often-raucous cubeville with bad lighting and plentiful distractions.
And I don’t need a key to use the bathroom.
I can sneak in a run at lunch or mid-afternoon when I need a break. In a few weeks, I’ll pull out the patio furniture and eat lunch outside, in the sunshine – far better than the terrible fluorescent lights and climate control of the office. I take conference calls while balancing on a wobble board.
In reality, I think I’m working more the days I’m at home. There aren’t the distractions of the office – no passing-by-the-desk hello and chat, no experiments to see if we can build a plumb bob to represent the building’s sway in the wind – and there’s no rush to bolt out the door right at five to catch the last express train bound for the hinterlands, so I can reach a more natural stopping point.
And the meals? For an evolving cook, working at home is divine. It’s nice having the time to sautee spinach, dice some peppers, and crumble feta into my morning eggs. I can easily throw together a marinade at 3 PM so dinner is ready to cook at 5:30, and I’ve ended the frantic just-got-home-starving-starving-FOOD-NOW panic.
The other day, I saw a Ted Talk from Jason Fried that nailed my Work at Home rationale:
He’s absolutely right about the office being like a Cuisinart, shredding your day into “work moments” where you can’t really accomplish thing. After all, you can’t get things done in the annoying 15 minute breaks between meetings. Fried says that work is like sleep: useless in short, choppy blocks.
But you know what’s even better than working at home?
Having the day off. I’m heading out to play.