Adventures in working from home

Friday, May 13, 2011

At the beginning of May, our company kicked off a temporary period of working from home. Our old office lease ran out at the end of April and we've outgrown that space so the decision was made not to renew. While we look for a new space that suits our needs (ample parking, lots of desk space for the team, kitchen area, meeting room, doesn't cost $297598235 a month, etc.) we're working remotely, using Skype, email and phone to keep in touch. Luckily the business we're in allows us to work from anywhere, so we're as busy as ever and clients aren't seeing a disruption in their service.

When I found out we were going to be working from home for a bit, I was pumped. I like my coworkers. We're a good team and we get along well. However, the commute was a bit dodgy for me. It involved 20-30 minutes each way through a gross industrial park and then parking in what can best be described as the armpit of the ghetto and running to and from the office multiple times per day to move my car and avoid being ticketed by the world's meanest meter maids.

I had delusions of grandeur about working from home. How I'd keep getting up at 6:00 to head to the gym first thing. How I'd use all my breaks to do things like unload the dishwasher and do laundry. My house would be spotless. I'd walk the dog every day at noon. I'd prepare nutritious and filling meals for breakfast and lunch and I'd have a tasty and balanced supper ready when Peter gets home every night. And under no circumstances would I stay in my yoga pants all day long just because I'm at home - I'd get dressed just like I would for the office every single day including jewelry and makeup.

Two weeks later: reality check!

Healthy breakfasts and lunches: I have been eating better breakfasts and lunches. I have time to actually prepare breakfast, sit down, and eat it now. Lunch is usually something more substantial than a microwaved bowl of soup, too. The problem: THERE IS AN ENDLESS SUPPLY OF FOOD THAT NEVER RUNS OUT IN BETWEEN MEALS NEVER NEVER. I no longer am limited to whatever snacks I can fit into my little lunch bag. Ohhh no. I can eat all day long if I want to. Yesterday my morning snack was three peanut butter cookies. THREE! Not good.

Supper is ready for Peter when he gets home: This hasn't happened once. I'm sorry. Yesterday I had french fries in the oven when he came home. That's the closest I've come. Oops...

The house is cleaner: This might actually be true. I'm more likely to throw on a load of laundry or empty the dishwasher during the day, and stuff doesn't build up as much. However, I seem to be using 100 dishes per day with all the eating, so the dishwasher needs to be run a lot more often.

Walking the dog every day at noon: This has happened TWICE. Not my fault. We're currently experiencing 40 days and 40 nights of downpour. Yesterday and today are the first days it hasn't been pissing rain in weeks.

Continuing the habit of going to the gym in the morning: Success! Most mornings I still go to the gym between 6:30 and 7:30 and if I don't make it then, I now have the option to go at lunchtime. The lunchtime crowd is completely different from the morning crew. In the morning, I'm the only person there who's not getting an old age pension. At noon there are all sorts of tattooed and scary skids skulking around and all the TVs are tuned to The Price is Right.

Wearing real clothes every day. And makeup. Fail. Right now I'm wearing yoga pants, an Adidas hoodie and a ponytail. (Granted, I just walked the dog). I do have makeup on, and I did shower today, so at least I don't look like a complete hobo. Yesterday, on the other hand, I could have doubled as a Derelicte model. Here's the thing: I'm not even leaving the house and no one's coming here. I can write copy or manage a project just as well in leggings as I can in real pants. No one's going to see me. Although every time we do a Skype call I'm afraid my coworkers can see me looking like a bedraggled street urchin through my webcam. Just call before you come over and no one's the wiser. Why would I waste the makeup if no one's going to see me anyway? The dog doesn't care if I look good.

Overall though, I love this working from home stint. I get an extra hour a day where I'm not commuting or running from crackheads. I don't have to lock the dog in the laundry room for 9 straight hours (here comes the SPCA, right?) In terms of productivity it's working well too. It's easier to get into the groove of a project and plow through work with fewer distractions. Plus we're all in constant communication anyway so it's not like working alone. I can listen to my music sans headphones, go outside for a fresh air break as needed, and don't have to share a washroom with anybody.

I may be shack-wacky in two more weeks' time but for now this working from home business suits me juuuust fine.

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