January 14, 2007

For the first time in my professional life, I am working from home. Permanently. (Or, should I say, as permanently as anyone’s hold on their job and position can be considered ‘permanent’ in this day and age.

How this came about is a testimony to that time-honored sentiment, wondering how on earth any company these days ever stays in business or is successful given the business acumen it often displays when it comes to handling its own business in-house. In my case, my company chose to “right-size” its business office in Phoenix to reduce real estate costs. All well and good there – why pay rent on office space you no longer need? However, as is the case with any kind of information gathering, the old GIGO (‘garbage in, garbage out’) rule applies, and in this case, they didn’t have a good handle on the number of people who actually worked at the office full-time vs. those who didn’t. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that a number of us who used the office full-time discovered there was, as they say, ‘no room at the inn’, and that suddenly we would now be full-time workers from our own homes.

It’s a good thing, then, that we had room to spare in our house – in fact, two bedrooms reserved for guests, either of which that, with not a lot of work, could be converted into office space. The larger of these rooms, complete with day bed, dresser, and TV (with Dish Network programming, no less) seemed the obvious choice to stay as is. The smaller one, east-facing and brightly-painted, with some bookcases, roll-top desk, and my prayer table, became the obvious choice. Since, however, it had also been used for storage in the three years we’ve been here, I was allowed to practice my own minimalist tendencies and throw a lot of crap out to create for myself a genuine work space.

So, after a visit to Staples and Office Max, in came a computer desk and white-board, up went some curtains (to create a sense of order and decor), a Linksys wireless router for high-speed Internet to my laptop, and voila! – instant office.

In the three weeks since I started this work-from-home gig, I’ve discovered both advantages and disadvantages (dangers, really) to my new home office situation. The advantages are obvious: no morning and evening commutes, therefore less wear and tear on our second car. And, the fact that I have Dish Network TV across the hallway means I can take advantage of the SIRIUS satellite radio and other music channels included in our programming for background music – so far, the Gumbo (New Orleans dixieland, jazz, zydeco, and ragtime), Tropical Breezes (Caribbean) and Hawaiian music channels are favorites. And, the buns in our ‘personal office’ next door also seem to appreciate having company during the day.

As hard to believe as it might seem, though, there are also some distinct disadvantages of having a home office – and believe me, this is where discipline comes into play. Proximity to work is the primary lure here. When you work in an office and it’s time to go home, you’re gone, and that’s it until the next day. Having a home office means work is never more than a few steps away, and sometimes it’s hard to resist going in and logging on to see what’s going on beyond the walls. And that’s something I’m still getting used to – working your day, then calling it a night. Building routines, like putting music on to indicate the start of my work day, and shutting it off when my work day is through, I find, helps a lot.

The other thing I miss is exercise. I still need to work on finding a replacement for those flights of steps I used to walk up and down to and from my 3rd floor office. Perhaps a walk around the neighborhood during the day, or, when the pool warms up sufficiently, a swim to help clear the head and break the day up is something worth checking into.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:26 | Comments (2)
  1. I have never been able to work from home so I really don’t know what I’m talking about but I think you need clear lines of demarcation … perhaps even visible boundaries. This is home and this is work. I’ve always wanted to work from home someday. I envy you. Congrats to the Pats on a great win.

    Comment by Rob — January 14, 2007 @ 8:00 pm

  2. […] The next need was to provide the same high-speed connectivity to a second device – in this case, my work laptop. This was motivated by the unforeseen development that, as I mentioned the other day, I would soon be working full-time from my home. Surprisingly enough, it all went pretty smoothly: a call to Cox and a friendly chat with a knowledgeable technical support resource (surprise!) revealed that I didn’t need a second physical line; I could make do with a wireless router. A conversation with my boss led me to the local Office Max, where for $49 dollars I could get purchase a Linksys 4.2 GHz wireless router, which, after 1 1/2 hours of trying to figure out the directions and ten minutes of actual installation (!) led to a successful test. […]

    Pingback by GoodBoys Nation - Archives » Tech Talk — January 16, 2007 @ 5:48 pm

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