Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Working from home today

I think I could get used to this. Sipping coffee in my pajamas, C-SPAN on in the back ground instead of through headphones, no telephones ringing in other cubicles or snatches of conversations intruding into my thoughts . . . I've always said I had no desire to work from home, ever. For two full years I resisted getting the infamous "key fob" that Large Nameless Agency hands to employees to enable us to log into LNA's intranet. I wanted to maintain a nice sharp line between where I live and where I work. As far as I was concerned the whole issue was moot when the Dilbert cage is only a couple blocks away. And then a couple things happened. . .

In April I started at the journal and discovered that, unlike my regular work group, there didn't seem to be any aversion to people teleworking. Three of the other copy editors telework. One's in Virginia, one's in Pennsylvania, and one's right here in Atlanta but works from home -- they never come near the office. This definitely contradicted what I'd been told was the official position: anyone who teleworks has to report to an actual office, too, on a regular basis, like one day a week or some equally ridiculous requirement. That come in occasionally b.s. had kind of negated the whole purpose of teleworking as far as I was concerned. I saw no point in maintaining two separate offices and having to schlep files back and forth between the two.

Then I attended a preretirement workshop, which prompted some deep thinking about the Before and After incomes. I know that once I retire our household income is going to drop to maybe 30% of what it is now. It'll be adequate for life on the tundra, but there's not going to be much slop in the budget.

Finally, I got the key fob. My supervisor basically said everyone in the work group had to have one, so I got one. I figured it would come in handy if (for nothing else) I ever wanted to get at something I knew was on the agency intranet but not released to the public website, like an article in an internal newsletter. So I test drove it, figured out it actually worked. . . and then I started thinking.

And what am I thinking? That if I can manage to slide into teleworking on a semi-regular basis (a couple days a week) and it's not too unpleasant an experience, then maybe I'll be able to slide into teleworking fulltime -- and relocate to the tundra, taking the fulltime income with me. Because, let's face it, my job is not particularly onerous. It's about as stress-free as work can get. There are occasional minor headaches, like dealing with authors who don't seem to recognize that their article isn't going to be the one that we allow to break the word count limits, but they're rare. (I'm actually dealing with a headache today in the form of an author who ignored the instructions on how to make corrections to copy, but it's the first time that's happened in the almost 4 months I've worked for the journal.)

So today the experiment begins. Can I work from home and still be productive? Can I manage to maintain the lines between Work and Not Work and not end up putting in more than the amount of time I'm actually getting paid for? That is one of the dangers of teleworking -- not that a person will do too little, but that he or she ends up doing too much. Given the nature of the work I do, I don't think the latter is likely, but you never know. And can I convince my supervisors that I am actually working when I'm supposed to be and not lolling about on the couch with a good book or watching "Regis and Kelly"? We shall see. . .


  1. I THINK I would like working from home. I know I would try it out in a heartbeat.

    The problem is that my job is too much tied into dealing with "The Public" face to face. Helping them use a computer, fill out forms, etc.

    Working in my PJ's, not having to SMELL certain members of the public (not to mention coworkers) would be nice. Enjoy!

  2. I hope you like it, Nan. I love working from home. It just takes discipline and some set hours. When the kids are in school, I actually have fewer distractions when I am home alone. No colleagues to come hang out and want to chat in the office.

    Your cat looks so much like our Daisy!

  3. I have been working from home for 13 years. I love not having to get dressed up, commuting and some public confrontations. (Saves $$$ too.)

    As for working too long...I have done that. There are times I have to force myself to just put it all aside and quit. I'm getting a little better in that area.

    Good luck with the new venture.


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