We’ve heard quite a bit about the topic of telecommuting or working from home. Embraced by millions and their employees, it provides a welcome break from the countless hours spent in traffic. For those stuck in dark, cramped, hallogen-lit offices — it also provides an opportunity to work in a well-lit, windowed space with the decor of your choosing. On the other hand, some employers are not sure telecommuting is as beneficial as all those studies make it out to be. The CEO of Yahoo! announced that her company will no longer be supporting (permitting) telecommuting.
This may or may not be news for some of you: I telecommute two days a week and I almost always love the days I am working from home. Don’t get me wrong: I love going to the office. My work office is clean, well-lit, has lots of windows and great staff. I telecommute not to get away from a dark, dank space, but more so to avoid sitting in traffic on the Capital Beltway. I also get to spend more time with my daughter — the two hours of commuting I would otherwise spend on the road are devoted to her. Spending more time with Sophia equals spending less money on our nanny as I have to pay her 150% of her salary for any work over 40 hrs. Yikes! Trust me, YIKES!
So what is it like the days I telecommute? I get up, make breakfast for anyone who is present (me, hubby, nanny, Sophia). Sophia eats, I take my breakfast and coffee and go to my office at home — “the virtual office”. Meetings, teleconferences, project work, the dreaded powerpoint
and masterminding how to take over the world take up the majority of my workday. I come out of the office to catch a glimpse of my child and grab lunch. Once my workday is done, I try my best not to check email or finish things up in the evening, but at times, that too is inevitable. Such is the new normal for professionals who enjoy their work and would like to make a worthwhile contribution to their team.
It may sound like a lot of time, but working from home lets me spend more time with Sophia — a welcome compromise to the decision of going back to work after her birth. Well, I feel like it was never really a choice given the cost of living where we live and my degree (a computer science degree will curdle faster than milk if you are not using it). Besides not having a real choice, I also believe that I am not cut out to be a stay at home mom. I have no patience and enjoy too much the company of peers. That is the simple truth and I salute stay-at-home moms because I just cannot imagine how they do what they do all day long, every day. That, and why do spouses feel like they have the right to come home to a clean house and a delicious meal when their counterpart is a stay-at-home parent? I do tell hubby that I am happy to be a stay at home mom when the kids are of school age :-). I can happily become a lady that works out and lunches :).
So today, on my second day of telecommuting this week, instead of getting up, showering, rushing, taking breakfast, lunch and snacks and coffee on the go (and looking like a crazy bag-lady), I put a brisket in the oven for my upcoming Passover Seder this Sunday. Let me tell you… the smell of thyme, bay, sweet onion and garlic is perfuming the entire house. That to me, is time well-managed and well-spent.
I encourage all who are able and willing to look into telecommuting to help reduce pollution, increase family time and continue promoting a work-life balance with their families and employer.