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Thursday, April 22, 2010  

Home Office

When I started my current job, one of my favorite things about it was that it meant that one day, I might just be able to work from home full-time. Ours is a global, forward-thinking, paperless work environment, and now telecommuting makes perfect sense, but back then, it was the brass ring.

I'd been there less than a year when Trash and I started strategizing about how we'd make it happen. When would I bring it up to my boss? Who else would I talk to? How would I build my case that working from home was the best solution? I was already working from home on Wednesdays, so I was about ready to start generating little spreadsheets and reports on how much more productive I was on those days. And to prove it, I would spend most of a Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and another Monday generating those spreadsheets and reports.

Then at one of our staff meetings (actually conference calls, with my far-flung coworkers dialing in from all over the country), the subject of my one coworker in that office came up, and how she was planning to start working from home the following week. She'd been there longer than I had, so I wasn't bitter. Much.

But then my boss (on the phone) and his boss (in the room with us) turned to me and said, "How would you like to work at home?"

"Yes!" I said.

"End of this week?" they asked.

"What?" I said.

I hope my coworker wasn't too bitter.

To my surprise, I found myself putting off working at home until I had time to wrap up a few projects in my pipeline. I thought they were just in a rush to get my desk clear for someone else, but it was still empty the next time I stopped by the office. Seven months later.

Trash's transition wasn't quite so smooth. When she first started her job at my company back in August, her boss's boss wasn't such a believer in the company's telecommuting-friendly posture. But then, early one morning a couple of months later, Trash's boss suggested something like, "Why don't you start working on this urgent project right away instead of spending time getting ready and going into the office." Trash said sure, and never looked back.

Well, that's not entirely true. She'll tell you that she did go into the office since then. And I will point out that it was on Christmas Eve, on our way to the family celebration at her dad's house, and we were there exactly long enough to raid the supply closet.

Apparently space is at a premium now, especially in the area where she sits. Chao started in her department last month, and someone seriously suggested they share a desk. Like people who work the same shift can do that, like hot-bunking on a submarine (no, Chao, hot-bunking is not as dirty as it sounds.

Next thing Trash knew she was an official telecommuter.

She's taking it harder than I expected. I don't think she misses actually going to the office every day. Far from it. I just think she missed having an offsite location to store all those file boxes she's going to be driving around in the trunk of her car for the next few weeks.

posted by M. Giant 8:18 PM 2 comments

2 Comments:

Our company has a generous "work from wherever the hell you want, just don't miss a deadline" policy. I still come into the office, but only because I LIKE my office and my coworkers and, like Trash, I would need to set up more official office space in my home if I took all of my crap there! Also, my husband has gone back to grad school full-time, and I don't think that having us both home all day on days when he's stressing about a paper would be good for our marriage! I love the 21st century, though!

By OpenID sharoncville, at April 23, 2010 at 7:55 AM  

I have been working from home since 2002. It's been totally convenient. I get kids off to school, I meet them as they come off the bus. The only issue I have is that the refrigerator is way too close to my office.

By Anonymous Bubba Frink, at April 23, 2010 at 8:15 PM  

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