Friday, July 10, 2009

An ode to working from home

While I was pregnant I found myself working from home much more frequently. In the past I worked at home if DH was traveling or I had some kind of errand that needed to happen during the day. But I found the frequency increasing particularly in my last trimester. It was just so much easier to walk down a flight of stairs and start working than haul my pregnant, very large ass to work every day. It started with every Friday and creeped up to 3x a week by the end. BigFinance is very supportive of remote workers. We even have a remote worker program where you get a WLAN router and VoIP phone so everything works exactly like you are in the office. Yes, I geeked out a bit there but I work in network services for BigFinance so I'm allowed. Thousands of BigFinance workers take advantage of the teleworker program and it has saved the company millions in real estate costs. I really think this is the future of work. Now people aren't tied to specific metros - you can live anywhere you want and it becomes all about talent recruitment for companies.

DH has worked from home for 4 years. His company (and my old company) SmallResearch was very cool with this as a few other employees worked remotely. DH just needed to build a business case and and make sure that they already had a tax ID set up in the state. Not a problem for Virginia when I was in business school or for Charlotte since there were already a few remote workers in NC. SmallResearch also pays for our phone line and Internet connection. Pretty good deal for us and them since it's cheaper for DH to work from home than taking up a desk in an office.

Technology has really enabled me to take advantage of working from home. I can forward my work phone to my Blackberry and VPN in to all required systems. Yes, VPN is now a verb, don't you know? My Bluetooth headset also allows me to be hands free just like when I am at work.

I have decided to keep working from home one day a week. It is something that I very much look forward to and think I am much more productive with my time at home. The best part is that it makes my evening juggle so much easier. I don't have to pack a lunch or think about what I'm going to wear to work. And it knocks off at least 90 minutes of getting ready and commuting time from my day. That's a lot of time! True ,I wear sweatpants and don't style my hair but video conferencing isn't the norm yet!

There is also the benefit that I can be more creative with lunch and perhaps throw some laundry in if I have a few minutes. I can also plan out dinner a little better in terms of defrosting stuff and maybe even get a walk in. Well, that last one hardly ever happens but a girl can dream, right?

What about the rest of you? Do you work from home all the time or occasionally? What do you like the most about it? Are there any negative aspects?


Susan said...

I have never had the opportunity to work at home but it sounds great for all the positive reasons you mention. And just being home. I am a homebody. I guess that could be one negative is lack of conversation with people or the work atmosphere - lunching with others....but then again, if your only doing it 1 day a week - forget it, I see positives ;)

LauraC said...

I have been telecommuting full-time since Aug 2005 and LOVE it. I get so much more done than I ever did when I was in the office.

The upsides, particularly with kids, are obvious.

The downside is that I really have to actively make sure people remember me. Not my teammates, but the people above, so that I don't get passed over for promotions or projects. I make a big effort to talk to multiple team members every day and volunteer for extra initiatives. And I visit once a year to see everyone and work in the office.

I do think it takes good discipline to do it full-time! But I would do just about anything to keep this job bc the benefit of telecommuting is one of the best benefits I've ever had!

(PS Jon telecommutes full-time too! That would be a great post about how we know we could survive anything if we survived twins and working from a small home office together. )

LIGER is my word verification, which makes me think of Napoleon Dynamite.

Amanda said...

Our company allows working from home and is quite supportive if your productive. I find that I am not as productive when I work from home, for the exact reasons you mention about being able to do a few things at lunch. I seem to find as many distractions as possible when I'm suppose to be working.

Sotorrific Twins said...

My husband works from home most every Friday since he is travelling the rest of the work week - no need to go into an office when none of his teammates are there.

Overall, I love this aspect of his job. Its nice to have lunch together and to have him help with bedtime - neither of which he could do if he had to commute to downtown Boston.

However, space is an issue as the twins have crept in all but two rooms of our house - our bedroom and the guest bedroom. And I really don't want to switch the guest bedroom to an office for just one day a week.

Donna said...

We are not permitted to work from home. There has to be extremely special circumstances to permit it. It stinks.

jerseygirl77 said...

I've been working from home for almost a year. (part-time) I definitely don't get as much done as I'd like... there are just too many distractions here. But it saves on commuting costs and time, so that is a definite upside.