For the past (almost) 5 years I have been an occasional telecommuter. I used to work from home between 1-2 days a week. It really is a nice benefit and provided Matt and I with a bit of extra flexibility. Our offices were in the same building so we could get away with only having one car. In September I took a new position (same company) where I was extended the offer to work from home fulltime, coming into the office about once a week. This arrangement allowed us to continue as a 1 car house. Sign me up!
Family and friends are pretty curious what it is like to work at home so I thought I would assemble a day in the life of sorts.
5AM: Yep you read that right. My cell phone alarm goes off at 5AM every AM (weekends too). I shove my BBT thermometer in my mouth and wait for the reading. After that I drink half a glass of water and then take my thyroid medicine. The thyroid medication has to be taken at the same time every day- fun stuff. Then I go back to sleep.
Anywhere between 6:00-7:00 I get up and get dressed. and turn on the computer/log in to work. Most days I have a 7AM meeting. I think the shortest time from eyes open to login was 2 minutes… but normally I take about 15. On this particular day I didn’t have an early meeting so it was off to the Espresso hut for my morning coffee.
The Pacific NW has tons of these espresso selling sheds in random parking lots. They are drive-up (or in my case walk-up) and they don’t serve drip coffee. My drink is quirky and all of the baristas have it memorized. 20 oz Decaf Americano (espresso shots mixed with water so it is coffee-like) with 2.5 inches left for steamed milk + 2 Splenda. It’s like a cafe au lait made with an Americano instead of coffee. Calorie wise this isn’t bad at all around at around 180.
Back to the office! Like I said I have lots of 7AM meetings so I am usually at my desk ready to go by 6:30/7:00. Matt usually leaves for work between 7:30 and 8:00. He pokes his head into the office and gives me a kiss goodbye .
My set up isn’t the best but it works for now. The 2 screens on the left are my work set up (laptop docking station + Monitor). My iMac is on the right. I usually push the iMac keyboard and mouse to the side while I am working.
I have a work cell phone (blackberry) and a softphone using Microsoft Lync (business verision of IM). Its hard to explain, but my computer acts as a VOIP. I have a phone number that people can call and get voicemail and I can dial out- all through my computer. I have a headset that I can plug into my computer and it functions as a regular phone, however I find it easier in my home office to use the above speakerphone by Jabra. Its like having your very own polycon.
Most of my coworkers are virtual so my manager made sure we were all equipped with webcams. We use video on most of our meetings and it really helps for a virtual team. Most of the time I share my video and then hit pause and freeze the frame, but that’s mostly because I don’t want to distract anyone with my horrible fidgeting. Whenever my manager and I talk on the phone we use the video feature too. Just a couple of days ago he got distracted while we were chatting because in the bottom corner of my video he saw Cheese (aka ghost cat) peek out the top of her box. He cracked a smile and exclaimed, “There is a cat in that box!” Speaking of the furballs, they spend the whole workday in the office with me.
Cassanova sleeps on top of the kitty condo and cheese sleeps under the locker or in her red box. They do not move all day and they pretty much ignore me. *sigh* When Matt gets home in the evening you would think they hadn’t seen a human all day. *mumpf*
Oh No Mr Bill! Oh no, I forgot to eat breakfast! *sigh* it happens more than you would think. I get engrossed in researching a problem, answering an email, or participating in a meeting and *poof* it’s 9:00 and I haven’t eaten.
Cassanova is particularly interested in my breakfast if it involves milk. Which I am nice and share with him.
I hate to say that most of my time is spent in meetings, answering emails, and such but it’s true. It is very easy for me to sit at my desk for 8+ hours without getting up. Movement and taking breaks from work is something I have had to work on since I started working virtual.
Depending on the meeting and the level of participation that it requires from me I sometimes use my blackberry to call in and are thus “free to roam around the house”. I can even heat lunch and empty the dishwasher while employing the mute button. The mute button is a glorious thing and not to be abused.
Ahh lunch. Sometimes it is at a normal hour and sometimes I don’t get a break until 3:00. No matter what time it is my two furry office mates always perk up when I eat my lunch at my desk.
“Can I have some? Can I? Pretty Please?”
I am a sucker and oblige every single time. *Spoiled Kitties*
Work is more rinse and repeat. Depending on what time I started and how good I feel about what I got accomplished I usually stop work around 3:30-4:00. Because I start work an hour before Matt and with his commute to and from work I usually have between 1-2 hours before he gets home.
This is when I get stuff done!
- edit photos
- write and schedule posts
- catch up on my google reader.
- pick up small items at the grocery (I walk or take my bike)
The kitties gotta eat ya know!
I try to step away from the computer at least a half hour before Matt gets home so I can get dinner started. We love to cook together, but with his new assignment at work he is working longer hours. We agreed that I would take on the meal planning and cooking M-F and on the weekends we would cook together. So far, so good. We have a lot more time to spend together after long days at the office and we are eating out less frequently.
So there you go… A typical work day in the Parker Haus. When I decided to work virtual Matt made me read The Oatmeal’s “Why working from home is both awesome and horrible” and this is the yardstick that we measure my virtual work situation by. I’m not peeing on myself yet, so that is good. (Really you need to click over and read it, you might pee yourself… really, go now… now.)
Do you work virtual? Do you think you would like it?
P.S. Matt will totally make me tell you guys this so here is full disclosure. Depending on how early my first meeting is in the AM I usually don’t shower and get dressed in real people clothes (aka not yoga pants) until lunch time or on a really busy day sometime end of the day. He’s on his way home now and I am off to jump in the shower. *looks sheepish*