Reflections, Work

Working from Home

We recently decided that I should try working from home for a week.
Partly this is to give me a quasi-holiday, partly to allow me to work on the strategic planning necessary for our business without daily work interuptions.

I can tell you that I was very hesitant about doing so. Not being in a formal workplace requires a certain degree of internal discipline to turn up and actually do the work each day.
And I was fighting with the idea that everyone else would view it as nothing but an excuse to avoid going to work like they have to.

In the end I went ahead with it, and here I am, sitting in front of my home computer. Newly furnished with broadband internet – a whopping 3.5 Mbps connection.
I know. Don’t laugh. And most especially, don’t brag about your 11 Mbps or 25 Mbps connections. It’s already bad enough just knowing how primitive we are, no salt needs to be applied to the wound thank you !
And it doesn’t help that we need to rob Fort Knox each month to pay for it either.

Still, five or so years after first reading about the concept, I am finally giving the idea of tele-commuting a try.

What I have liked so far:

  • It is really nice not having to get up at 6am to make it to work for 8am.
  • It is really nice not having to sit in traffic for 40 minutes each way.
  • It is really nice to have freshly brewed coffee whenever you want it.
  • It is really nice to not be interupted by the telephone all the time.
  • It is really nice to not be interupted by people’s questions all the time.
  • It is really nice to have a peaceful environment in which to think about “big picture” stuff.

What I have learned so far:

  • Discipline, discipline, discipline. That’s what is required to do this well.
  • It can be easy to get distracted by household jobs.
  • It can be easy to take longer breaks, or be tempted out into the garden.
  • It is necessary to have a good VPN setup and knowledge on using it well.
  • It is necessary to have a well organised work plan, to keep focus.
  • It is necessary to have a well organised and thought out workspace at home. (A desk for the computer isn’t enough. What about writing space? Reading space? Lighting? Seating?)
  • It could become lonely, without face-to-face people contact.

After my trial week, and the trials that the week brought, my assessment of the outcome is remarkably positive.

I will confess that I did not complete one of my tasks for the week – getting the planning to an all-but finished state – but I did manage to recharge my mental batteries, while still staying in touch with the day-to-day running of the business.
I learned about the usefulness of the new VPN, and about the current limitations of my setup. I learned a heap of things about “what not to do” when attempting to work from home. And I am looking forward to my next tele-commuting week, with more structure, better organisation, better office layout, and more pre-planning.

Hello Cyber-Age, I think I have finally arrived !

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