I’m lucky: I’ve worked partly from home ever since my first child was born in January 2017. My company is amazing—and unusual—in that they do not demand that I am physically present in the office when I am doing my job. I wish that more employers were open to this idea. Trust me, the average employee is not looking to take sneaky advantage of the opportunity to work from home! For many of us, eliminating a stressful, time-consuming commute actually gives us more time to complete our work, and frees up time for things that help us be more productive overall, like going for a jog and making breakfast.
Work-from-home flexibility is also very important for parents. As someone with two small kids, it is a massive weight off of my mind to know that if I get a 1pm call that one of my babies is sick, I can go pick them up, bring them home, and still be on my 2pm conference call. I often have to take some PTO when home with a sick child, but I don’t have to be left completely out of the loop on my projects and lose traction on my work. Again, for the most part I think that this makes me more productive, not less.
Since we moved to Texas, however, I’ve been working from home full-time. This is partly because my boss and I were unable to establish a work space for me here before I moved, and now it’s because the company is actually in the process of switching offices! In a couple of weeks, I should have an office to go to when I need it. It’s not super convenient to my house, but it’s not ages away, and it should be a fresh new space in a part of town I haven’t had much chance to explore.
So when do you actually need to go into an office? In my case, I almost never need to. But I am finding that I sometimes want to!
Most significantly, an office outside the home gives you a less distracting place to work. Sure, offices have their own distractions: coworkers, coffee spots, overheard conversations, etc. But they don’t have curious pets, tempting household chores, and doorbells. Once I have my office, I’ll probably use it for my 2–3 most call-heavy days of work per week: days when I’d rather not have my dog barking in the background, someone knocking on my door, or a pile of laundry calling my name. There may be distractions at an office, but it’s an environment that respects when you’re on a conference call or when you’ve got your headphones on. It can be hard not to run around accomplishing little household tasks in between sessions of work, but those frequent breaks can actually make my projects take longer overall.
Plus, I miss having coworkers! Sure, I spend a lot of time on calls with people in Seattle, Atlanta, Orlando, and Provo—people I won’t see in person anyway!—but I am looking forward to meeting my Plano coworkers and adding a little more socialization back into my weekdays.
But before I sign off, there’s a big reason why I’m able to work from home now: I have a home office! Our new house has a funny little rectangle in its very center, half of which is an atrium (how cool is that?!) and half of which is a small office. I have two big windows that look into the atrium, beyond which is one of the living areas and then windows to the backyard. I love how small and cozy it is and how open and filled with light it is. Like my part-work-from-home part-in-office schedule, it’s the best of both worlds.