Monday, February 28, 2005


I worked from home today. Once in a while, I do that. It's easy enough, given the simple technology that keeps me connected to all my electronic files and communication means. Yet every time I do it, I shake my head thinking about those people who believe that telecommuters work less than if they were in the office.


For starters, I got up at 5:30am and spent half an hour reading and responding to emails that arrived overnight from my associates in Japan, China, Australia, and New Zealand. I organize so I can efficiently handle the stuff that will come in during the day. I take half an hour to shower and get dressed (albeit more casually than if I were going into the office and with less effort toward make-up and hair). Then, taking advantage of the relative calm that is the period between 6:00am and about 7:30am, I start working on projects. Documents that need updating, forms that need completing, databases that need entering. When the emails and voice mail messages start around 7:30am, I turn my attention to them. The rest of the day is a juggling act between the two.

And for some reason -- perhaps to disprove the theory that telecommuters work less than people in the office -- I work almost without cessation, usually through lunch and often beyond the typical end of the day. I'm not walking to meetings, fax machines, copiers, and other people's desks intermittently throughout the day, or fielding people at my own desk. I often get so entrenched in my work that I forget to drink water -- a habit deeply ingrained in my office routine. I don't even eat lunch, and I'm at home; a weak stone's throw away from my own kitchen!

Today, I managed to get a whole hour for lunch (something I don't do even when I am in the office) only because I had to go to the post office (to send important overnight package) and drug store (to get supplies for sick husband). The lunchtime and pre-snowstorm errand-runners clogged the streets, parking lots, and checkout lines, and thus I managed a one-hour lunch. But when I returned, I immediately picked up where I left off.

I just finished for the day -- at 5:45pm. Taking away the half hour for getting ready in the morning and the hour for lunch, I worked 10 hours and 45 minutes. This is typical of my experience working from home: I find I am significantly more productive. Yet somehow, there are people who think I would do less here than I would have done in 8 hours in the office. Go figure.

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