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.