Home Office Woes

BBC.com is one of the news sites that I look at through the week and yesterday I saw an article about decentralizing the workforce and increasing the ability to work remotely. Clark Valberg, CEO of a software design company says “A decentralized workforce now allows employers to access “passionate talent anywhere in the world irrespective of any geographic boundary.”  This is not good news to me.

My company instituted a Work at Home policy three years ago; each associate is allowed to work from home one day a week. I think I am about the only one in the company who does not take advantage of this. I prefer going into the office, I don’t want to be dragging my work laptop home all the time and I didn’t think I would be good at it.

Mother Nature finally forced me to test my theory that I wouldn’t be good at working from home. We had two snow days in February this year and I just had too much on my plate to take the days off.  I had warning so I had brought my work laptop home and gotten a lesson from a co-worker on how to get onto the network.

I don’t know if it was a self-fulfilling prophecy but I really hated working at home. I got work done; I was efficient enough but every minute I was thinking of what else I could be doing.  I could bake some cornbread, I could work on my solstice project, I could throw in a load of laundry, I could pay bills.  I could brush the dogs, do my nails…. aarrgggh.  The fact that my life was surrounding me while I tapped away at the computer drove me crazy.  I knew if I left my desk, I might never return.

So luckily the weather is turning nicer and I probably don’t have to worry about having to work from home any more this year. And I certainly hope that my workplace doesn’t get decentralized before I’m ready to retire!

What distracts you from what you need to get done?

32 thoughts on “Home Office Woes”

  1. I’m with you totally, VS. I’ve mentioned that I have a hard time even getting any serious reading done at home, and have considered going to the library, for exactly the scenario you describe above. There’s too much calling out to me that could be done “meanwhile”, but getting those things set up are constant distractions. Whenever I’m in a building with a nice lobby and comfy looking chairs, I think: “Hmmm, I’ll bet I could come and read here.” There are a couple of good coffee shops…

    What else distracts me is checking emails, etc. (Wes is right about here), esp. if I’m waiting for some information or news.

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  2. My new mixer will keep me from getting anything done outside the kitchen for the foreseeable future. I will figure out how to use it this weekend. We only have one loaf of French bread in the freezer. Supplies are getting low!

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  3. When I’m seriously writing–creating new scenes, editing, outlining, whatever, I need to leave the house. I can do author marketing and social media stuff at home, but I need to get away from my home distractions when I need to be creative.

    Plus, I’d go crazy if I never left the house.

    Chris in Owatonna

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  4. You mean other than telemarketing calls? Or the husband who seems to think that whenever he meanders into the room, I should give him my full attention? Or Martha who apparently believes her desire for food, now, no, RIGHT NOW! overrides anything else I might be doing?

    Let’s see. Now that I’m retired, and don’t have an employer’s expectations to contend with, what gets in the way is my inability to prioritize what I should do first – and stick to it. Sure as god made little green apples, I no sooner start one project than it leads to, at least, two or three others that somehow are more urgent. Merely contemplating a project is exhausting.

    Unlike Steve, it I don’t attribute it to “pathetically weak character,” I think it’s much more complex than that. (I know, Steve, you meant it as a joke.) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. …and Facebook lately. I used to be able to just ignore it for weeks at a time, but as my schedule loosened up a bit… It’s fun, but it’s a time-filler, and time-warp – I’ll get on for a couple of minutes and a half hour is gone.

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  6. As someone who has worked in offices and at home I can say from personal experience that one can get distracted and waste time in an office as easily as at home, but because you are physically at work, it doesn’t feel as indulgent. At least at home some of your distractions are productive ones, even if they’re not work related.

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      1. It partly depends on whether the work you do is interactive or whether it’s task based. If it’s interactive—like a receptionist for example, part of your job is just being there whether you are performing any other task or not. If your work is task based—if you have a set objective and a deadline—you can divide the task into proportionate parcels and once you have accomplished your parcel for the day you are free to do what you want, including more work if you wish. Task-based employment is especially well suited to working at home, in my experience.

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        1. Janitorial work is an interesting hybrid. In my student days as a work-study janitor, we had a certain set of tasks and when we accomplished those, we were free to read or study or whatever. I don’t think it was peculiar to work-study. There were non-student janitors and they worked under the same understanding.

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  7. Food. Particularly chocolate. And if I’m home, then if I don’t have the right kind of food to distract me, I can make something.

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  8. I often come home with a plan to accomplish one or two things as soon as I come in the door, like putting groceries away. What derails me is a certain black and white furry thing that follows me into the kitchen hollering at me. He is the noisiest cat in the world. I think he is losing his hearing, and doesn’t realize how much noise he is making. Unlike PJ’s Martha, he isn’t looking for food. If that was it, I could feed him and get back to the task I started. What he wants, though, is for me to sit down so he can sit in my lap and get his petting time in. So I sit down, in the interest of peace and quiet, and then I turn on the TV or radio, and then I don’t want to get up again, even after he has decided to move off my lap and back to his usual snoozing position. Especially if PBS Newshour is on…I’ll sit there the whole hour, and then I’ll get sucked in by Antiques Roadshow or something, while the milk and butter sit out on the counter.

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        1. All I ask is that it gives me lots of games where I am engaged and entertained and not depressed by how terrible they are. If they generally play good baseball and have a chance at winning any game (at least going into it), I’ll be happy.

          Liked by 2 people

  9. Depending on what you work is, I think it helps to have a specific place set aside for doing that work. Here’s an interview with Roald Dahl of how his daily routine works. I found it quite interesting:

    Liked by 1 person

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