Thursday, November 18, 2010

Working at Home

Once I was lamenting that the only time to rake leaves was during the day, when I was at work and therefore couldn't be raking. My friend, surprised, commented, "but you work at home?!?"

Ah yes.

Working from home, for me, means flexible location, not flexible hours. The nature of my job requires that I be generally available during "business" hours, when my co-workers are available for discussion, brainstorming, problem-solving, and so forth: I may work at home, but I seldom work alone. So, even though I am at home, the leaves lie undisturbed on the lawn.

Even so, the flexible location, working from home, offers benefits. There is no commute, no wear & tear on my car, no gasoline expenses, no weather delays. I can easily walk Bonnie at lunch time, without having to spend part of my lunchtime rushing home. And, of course, Bonnie loves having someone around to let her in and out whenever she fancies it. I can listen to whatever music I like, without offending anyone. I can knit during meetings (well, it depends on the meeting). I avoid a lot of office gossip & politics, and the wasted time that goes with it. I don't have the risk of picking up whatever illness is spreading through the office.

Nothing is perfect, and so there are some downsides to working at home. For one thing, there are never any weather delays! You laugh, but really - I don't get to share any heroic or hair-raising stories. And I never get a snow day (although I have had a few "power outage" days).

Sometimes, missing the office gossip & politics leaves me in the dark; I miss some incidental information that really would be helpful. Fortunately, I have some contacts in the office who do a pretty good job of keeping me informed. I do miss some of the social aspects of working in an office. Frankly, I've always been fairly introverted, and not too involved in office chit-chat, but even my limited participation offered a connection that I no longer have - no potlucks, no donuts...!

A good manager can help a lot, making sure that his staff knows what he knows, and making sure that information is shared.

Currently, my co-workers are in four locations: Pittsburgh PA, Columbus & Cleveland OH, and here in Kalamazoo MI (this last would be me). We work together pretty well, in spite of that fact that we seldom see each other. But, earlier this week, we all traveled to Cleveland. We spent several days working together, with some playing in between: we went out to dinner together, played arcade games, and generally relaxed.

And I took pictures, so we can remember what we look like!

Top row: Marty, Steve, Lowell, Janice, & Paul. Second row: Ron, Dave, Diane, & Cindy. Bottom row: Scott, Ruth, Deb, Robin, & Bonnie

“Work is either fun or drudgery. It depends on your attitude. I like fun.”
Colleen C Barrett


  1. I've worked from home a few days this year while Rachelle has had medical appointments that I need to help with. It's hard to do for me. It's much easier to put myself in "work mode" in the office than in the home office, especially once the kids come home from school.

  2. I think it is much easier for me to work, having the house to myself. Every now & then, Jim is home when I have a workday, and it is a struggle to focus on work, when it would be much nicer to focus on Jim!