Duffer... Working from home
Working from home …and loving it
Working from home is a dream, but I’m afraid I’m going to be caught with my pants down Photo: Fotolia by Adobe Stock
A few years ago, I was given the chance to work from home. Looking to trim some of the fat away from our overhead, my employer figured it would be more cost-effective for everyone to work from his or her place of residence.
I could see the benefits from his perspective. He wouldn’t have to pay rent or utilities any longer on office space, email and Skype could keep the lines of communication going, and new employees wouldn’t necessarily have to live in the immediate area.
From my own perspective, a number of thoughts went racing through my head. I can go to work in my boxers from now on. I don’t have to comb my hair or shave if I don’t feel like it. I don’t have to go out in the bitter cold on a January or February morning to drive to work. I don’t have to worry about polluting the bathroom if someone else needs it after I’m done.
The list of advantages went on and on. I was actually giddy with excitement at the prospect of being able to work from home. Not only was the company going to benefit from a healthier bottom line from this move, I was, too. I did the math in my head and realized what I’d save in gas from commuting everyday would equate to a nice little windfall.
After a near tearful farewell among the employees on our last day together in the office, this new chapter in my working life was ready to begin. We would still be able to hear one another’s voice during periodic conference calls and the odd meeting over Skype, and the annual Christmas get-together was still a go, giving us the chance to actually see one another in person at least once a year. It’s amazing how much someone can age over the course of just one year, or how much weight they can gain, or how much balder they can become, or…
It was winter when I marked my first day of working from home. My attire that day consisted of a pair of boxers, a T-shirt and a bathrobe. Actually by noon that day, I began to feel a little guilty about how I was dressed so I ditched the bathrobe and pulled on a pair of jeans. Still, I was comfortable and was about as productive from home as I ordinarily would have been on a typical day at the office.
But it just didn’t feel the same. After about a week, I began to miss the day-to-day routine I had become so accustomed to during the previous couple of decades. My morning stop at the Tim Hortons drive-thru on my way to work had become a thing of the past. The daily banter with a co-worker about the previous night’s sports contests had ended. The availability of the office vending machine for a late afternoon snack was no more.
When a near 20-year routine changes all of a sudden, it takes a while to adapt. To go from interacting daily with about 16 co-workers to being home alone (my wife was out of the house at work) is a shock to the system. Nevertheless I knew what my job expectations were and managed to crack down each day and be productive. The TV remained off and there were no other distractions to derail my productivity.
In fact, I soon found I was able to get more done during an eight-hour period at home than I could achieve during the same time frame in an office setting. Occasionally by mid-afternoon, I might find myself getting a little sluggish, so I’d remedy the situation by going out for a brief walk around the block or even giving in to a 20-minute power nap. I figured since my output was consistent with that from my years working in an office environment, I could justify the little bit of R and R.
And the liberties! If I felt the urge to scratch a part of my body that shouldn’t be scratched in view of others, I was able to scratch away to my heart’s content. If I had a buildup of gas, I could let one rip without offending anyone. If I felt a belch coming on, there was no need to stifle it. If I needed to use the bathroom, it was always available and would never bear the lingering stench of Big Bob’s 20-minute visit.
During the heat of summer, I could work shirtless. The former office dress code no longer applied. If I wanted to work with music playing in the background, I was no longer relegated to wearing ear buds plugged into my iPod. Now I was free to crank up the stereo.
The advantages of working from home are too numerous to mention. Near the top of the list, however, is the ability to multi-task. I’ve lost count of the number of loads of laundry I’ve done while working. After loading the washing machine, adding detergent and pushing the start button, you simply walk away from it for about an hour while getting some honest-to-goodness work done. Then you take another minute to remove the laundry from the washer, toss it in the dryer, push the start button and walk away for about another hour. These are tasks you would otherwise have to do in the evening on your own time. Now, that time is yours to use as you please.
Working from home is a dream. But one of these days I’m afraid I’m going to be caught with my pants down… literally. If an unexpected FaceTime call comes in and I’m not wearing pants that day, I’d better be sure the camera is pointed well upward.
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