A Lot To Be Said For Working From Home

There’s a lot to be said for working from home. For almost every working day since 2005 I’ve been making my way to the office, settling into my desk, my chair, the kettle nearby and not once can I remember taking a full day to work at home. Sure, often there’s times where I’ll start a job at home if I’m up early (early being in the 7am range, the “usual” being the 7:30am range) and bring it with me to the office for 8:30am. Or maybe I’ll go the other way, start a job late in the office and bring it home to finish off, just for a “change of scenery” at the end of the day.

Yesterday, however, I woke to heavy snowfall in Kilkenny, a headache and a general feeling of being unwell. No problem I thought, I’ll hang on an hour, down a cup of green tea, settle myself into the morning gradually and make way to the office for mid morning. No point in giving up on work though!

Having been out of the office Friday, the mobile was beside me and turned on by 8:30am. We switched our office mail over to Google Apps around last summer so the office mail went on for 8:30am, along with Google chat to keep tied into the office. Connection to the server in the office for projects and job folders? No problem. Couple the recent installation of OpenOffice, add some graphic packages, editors, XAMPP to back the webserver at home, bundle in my Skype Pro account (and recently installed desktop phone) and I’ve everything I need really to work a full day from the house.

Next thing you know it’s 11:30am and I’m finally getting around to that cup of green tea. At this stage I’ve three jobs cleared off my virtual desk, two training sessions arranged for next week and Friday through Monday’s email cleared.

When I realised the headache was subsiding and I could manage lunch I figured there was no point in going to the office as I was in full swing at home. I had recently reorganising my home workspace (effectively splitting it in two to handle audio recording and production on one side of the room and office work on the other) which was certainly a help. Plus, my actual physical office is located in an industrial estate between a control panel-building company and metal fabrication company. Every hour of the day there’s machines going off, delivery trucks pulling up outside, people dropping in and out of the office for one reason or another. Now, that’s not to say that I’m working in a completely noisy environment but there are certain stages of the day when it gets noisy outside the window!

Come the afternoon, the snow subsided outside, making way for rain but still there were no trucks, no machines and a full working day complete. I stopped for lunch for 20 minutes, grabbed a tea in the afternoon and that was it. Meetings arranged for the week, phone support jobs handled, all the time keeping touch with Aidan in the office, exchanging files over chat / email / phone.

I used to do that kind of thing in college, the odd time anyway. Get up early in the morning, abandon the walk to college in favour of working in a very quiet house to get some valuable project time in.

In speaking with Keith yesterday in relation to CreativeCamp it was suggested that your mind works in a different way when working from home, or your line of thinking is different. You’re getting on with the tasks at hand but you can approach them differently, cover some things you wouldn’t normally get done in the office environment.

Perk for me is the only other person there would be my brother, the rest of the family (and the dog) firmly installed in Sligo and at that he wouldn’t be back until 5pm anyway.

While I can’t say that I’ll make it a regular occurrence and it certainly wouldn’t be practical when it comes to client meetings, I was pleasantly surprised at the vast amount of work accomplished yesterday between 8am and 5:30pm.

A bit of peace, plenty of focus and barely stirring from the chair made for a fairly healthy work day, and certainly provided food for thought for taking other odd days to work at home.

  • http://blog.johnnypez.com John

    Nice one, I like getting stuck into work at home as long as there are no distractions. Having said that, I like coming to work in Carriganore too. Well placed offices can give employees a nice morale boost.

  • http://www.kenmc.com Ken McGuire

    In fairness, if I had a huge lake to look out on I’d be a happy camper too.

    No wonder the family office resides in Sligo most of the week.

  • http://www.darrenbyrne.com/wordpress/ Darren

    Cool cool. Doubt it would work for me though. Alright, the one hour journey to and from work is a pain in the area between my lower back and upper thigh, but I like my very organised and spacious office space. The dining room table at home packed high with laptops and college books, and the lure of that TV, PlayStation, Wii, stacks of DVD’s, shelves of books, is all too distracting – no work would be done.

  • http://www.kenmc.com Ken McGuire

    True, don’t get me wrong, I love my office and love having somewhere to work. But I did find it interesting that there was no desire, when locked away in work at home, to tackle the TV, the Wii, that final mission on Assassin’s Creed or to stream in random TV from the internet during morning and afternoon breaks (yes, we do that in the office).

    I listened to two podcasts in the day and that was about it, kept an eye on Jaiku / Twitter (as is now usual) and that’s about it.

    I guess it was handy enough that the TV was downstairs, along with the aforementioned xbox and wii – keep the distractions locked away in another room. Out of sight, out of mind and all that!

  • http://eirepreneur.blogs.com James Corbett

    Nice post Ken. I’ve been working from home for the last 8 years so I know all about the advantages and disadvantages too. There have been times when I thought of getting a ‘proper’ office but on the whole I don’t think I could be any more productive than I am sitting right here.

  • http://www.kenmc.com Ken McGuire

    It’s something I’ve wanted to do for an age, just put in a full day of company work at home (having none of it to do with KKM or the theatre company).

    One thing I’ve noticed in comparison to today is that my posture is totally off in the office. Was much more comfortable at home – and they’re the same office chairs.

    A comfy worker is a productive worker :)

    Do you manage any meetings from home at all, James? Or many major disadvantages over previous life in an office environment (if there was one)?

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