Workplace bliss at home

Up at 6:30 a.m. Shower.

Run down the hall. Boot up the computer, check voice mail and e-mail, and place one urgent phone call to Boston.

Head downstairs at 6:45 a.m. Hug my toddler. Say goodbye to my husband. Make breakfast, sing the Barney theme song, then drive to day care.

Back at home at 8:45 a.m. Fly upstairs, set up for a 9 a.m. phone interview, and I'm working.

Welcome to a day in the life of a telecommuter - my life.

I started working from home full time for this newspaper two years ago, when I relocated from our Boston headquarters to Los Angeles.

I still remember the day I sat down to write my first story in my new office. It was quiet. No one talking near my desk. No TVs blaring. No newsroom noise. I wrote the story in half the time it used to take me in my cubicle. Imagine that. And a little flexibility to boot.

To say I'm a big proponent of telecommuting is an understatement. No sitting in traffic - or pointless meetings. No being judged on how much time you clock at your desk. It's all about results. So what if I throw in a load of laundry while waiting for a phone call? The caller doesn't know.

No doubt it's not for everyone. You've got to be disciplined. Some people need the momentum of an office behind them to get their work done.

You've got to be focused, too. You can't let that pile of dirty dishes in the sink distract you. Or the neighbor's barking dog.

Bells at the high school near my home would ring every hour on the hour. With a few phone calls, I was able to get one of them turned off.

Yes, you miss the camaraderie of your colleagues.

Then there's the little thing about your office always being in your home. If you can't block out the ringing fax machine on Saturday morning, then telecommuting probably isn't for you. (Who's faxing me Saturday morning, anyway?)

And please don't think that working from home is a substitute for child care. You can't do two jobs at once.

When I first started working from home, I didn't want anyone I interviewed to know. People didn't seem to take you as seriously. Now they consider telecommuting to be cutting edge and many wish they could do it too.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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