Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Life - Working From Home

We were talking one day and the missus has observed some changes based in part on my working from home. Although there are innumerable advantages, there are some definite disadvantages. The advantages include lower transportation costs (I have to make a conscious effort to drive the cars enough to keep rust off the brakes - and even then I end up with rusty rotors), zero commute time, healthier eating (there aren't $200 worth of free candy, chips, and soda available at all times), and simply being close to home.

The disadvantages are somewhat significant. Because I work from home, I feel that if I'm not at the computer ready to respond to emergencies then I'm not doing (part of) my job. So I sit tethered for 8 hours, taking very short breaks for the washroom or to nuke food for a couple minutes. The missus noticed I started having problems getting tired - I was literally resting all day and therefore couldn't stay asleep for a whole night.

A second "minus" is the fact that I can't really socialize. Phone calls increased a bit, same with the Skype chats, but there's no sitting in the kitchen, eating lunch, and chatting about random things with a co-worker. I work with my brother and at the office we'd spend the occasional hour, standing next to our cars, talking about various things. All this is gone now. The missus half seriously suggested signing up with a guy who rents out desks to those that work from home. He works from home, missed the social aspect, and thought it would be cool to have other people working from home to work from his home. He rents out a desk, supplies free coffee and internet, and a bunch of "working from home" people work together. Interesting concept, that's for sure.

A third negative element is I can't drive my car too much. I suffered through some tough times in the office and I'd just keep telling myself, "As soon as I leave the office, I can drive my beloved car." And my trip home would be my typical adventure - trying to time traffic so I hit all my exit and entrance ramps clearly (and therefore I could also try and hit them cleanly), perhaps practice 0-60 launches from rest stop entrance ramps. I had to stop the latter after I realized I was going through my clutch quicker than expected but you get the idea - I had a little motivation for working through the day. On a bike it might be targeting stepping stones up a long climb - "I'll go to that bend.. ok now to that mailbox... ok now to that sign." If you do that long enough you end up topping out the climb, and your efforts were doled out in some manageable way. At any rate, driving one of my cars (one gets good mileage, one is simply a lot of fun to drive) is a form of motivation, a way of seeing the end of the day for me. At home I'm lacking that particular element of motivation.

Finally, I rarely get to listen to music. Not the way I like to anyway. I didn't listen to music in the office (unless it was late) but I definitely listened on the way to and from the office. There's something cathartic about loud music (it's better if it's blended in with cycling on a trainer but the car works too) and right now my car has the best stereo I own. So with its subwoofer massaging my lower back and the mirrors trembling on every beat, my commute home let me drown my ears and body in music. The apartment and working at my desk eliminates the opportunity to listen to my car too much, and I typically keep the noise level down when I work. The end result is that whenever we need something minor in the evening, I volunteer to go get it and crank the music to and from the store.

So although it's really cool to not have to commute, it's still got its "things".

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