For the past year I have been working in Sydney from my mac in a second bedroom. This awesome situation evolved essentially from me wanting to leave Brisbane to be with my girlfriend, but also because I was ready for new challenges and felt a little bit bored by what is my home town. I was planning to take a career break to do it which had even been approved, when work instead offered me the opportunity to work on a project remotely for 6 months – something I was happy to take up. This arrangement has been extended to a year and is still ongoing. The organisation I work for had put a lot of effort in to allowing telecommuting for it’s employees but I’m not sure they imagined someone working so far from it’s offices. I guess I had shown I could work from home and deliver after breaking my leg and working half days from home.
Working in solitary from a remote office has it’s disadvantages:
- My work stories about my day only really involve what the dog (Elvis) did that day which can be pretty boring for Claire when she gets home. 🙂
- The social aspect of going for drinks after work, having lunch with my workmates or having coffee meetings doesn’t exist
- I used to wear a different pair of sneakers everyday, now there are over 30 pairs languishing in the cupboard.
- Meetings over the phone can be a little fractured as I can’t always hear everyone in a conference. You also can’t see people’s faces to see how they are reacting to the conversation.
- Knowledge sharing is more difficult when it’s not done in person, however we have used google chats once or twice with it’s shared screens which actually worked rather well
- Incidental exercise is non existant for me, since I only really walk from the bedroom to the kitchen or lounge room. I’ve tried to subsidise this with exercise, but I know that isn’t working due to the weight gain I’ve obtained.
- I can’t read books on a commute
- I don’t tweet as much cause I don’t really see external things that I think people would be interested in
But on the flip side, there are many advantages:
- There is a pool in my apartment complex and in the summer I can be swimming 5 minutes after I’ve logged off work or in my lunch break
- While eating my lunch I can fit a 30 minute tv show in while eating
- I don’t have to deal with Sydney traffic in my commute, so I get about 2 hours a day extra than most people to play with
- I seem to get more done in less time – I guess because I don’t really get interrupted
- Elvis (the dog) is happy that he has company during the day and I am happy because he does his wees outside and not on the wee mat
- I can wear a dressing gown to work in winter and no one sees it
- I can listen to spotify loudly and hear new music
- I’ve saved money from transport and lunch costs
It takes a lot of discipline to work from home, I handle it by switching off the tv at 7.52am (in disgust, because usually that is when sunrise is interviewing the radio talkback people), taking my lunch around 11.30-12 and finishing at 3.30-3.45. Routine is the key. I do have a Telstra 4G modem and could work from a coffee shop, but that means I’d have to get dressed and pay them money – I’d rather do that on Fridays when I have the day off and can sit drinking coffee unencumbered!
I’m very lucky to have gotten this opportunity as a lot of people dream of doing this. Ideally I’d like it to eventually evolve in to me not having to work at all, but I’m going to have to come up with some creative ways to afford that. 🙂