BOSTON — Three years ago Greg Schall, an engineer at Hewlett-Packard in Atlanta, made his life and his young son's life a lot easier.
He started working from home.
After a divorce gave him custody of son Zachary (who at the time was 8), Schall spent several years relying on neighbors and after-school programs to help cover the hours between Zach's after-school and Schall's after-work.
When the company planned to move him to a new office, doubling his hour-long commute, he decided to make a change.
"At the time, my son was leaving and returning home unattended, and that was just a little more than I felt comfortable with," he says.
So he shortened his commute dramatically - 13 steps to his office on the second floor of his four-bedroom home. Schall persuaded his boss to let him work at home.
That means he's there to see Zach off to school in the mornings, and he's there when he gets home.
"When I first began to work from home, my son was obviously relieved," Schall says. "He was that much more stress-free and relaxed and happier. Even though he never said anything directly, the impact was very positive."
Even now that his son has started ninth grade - "another nervous situation for Dad," he jokes - being at home allows him to stay in touch with Zach's daily life. And he knows that being at home these past three years has made all the difference today.
"If I was gone all those years, I'm not sure what the situation would be today," he says. "It's one of those things you really don't want to think about."