I was born in 1980. That puts me in a somewhat ambiguous (like that? somewhat ambiguous. ha!) position as far as those trendy Generation X, Generation Y terms go. Luckily, there’s finally a full name for Generation that makes me happy. It’s called the Work from Home Generation. We WFH types are good for the environment, more productive, and cheap. Well, we might be. We may also be bad brainstormers and a little on the workaholic side. That’s what the article says anyway. My friend Jeff alerted me to the article, probably because my Google Talk status now says “working from home” nearly all day, every day.
People around the School of Information have been using status messages and display names including geographic info such as “at SIN” and “in DTW” for years, and I like to follow social norms sometimes so I do too. Trouble is, having my status say “@ home” all the time makes me sound like a slacker. You know I’m right. I’m not slacking though; I’m working in a nice room with 2 windows, 3 lamps, and loud music that just happens to be close to my leftovers and accessible by foot from my bedroom. I’m not one of those WFH types who stays in her pajamas all day, but I do spend much more time in my home office than in any other workspace. My office mate at school and I have different preferences for our space. She prefers quiet; I prefer music. She prefers fluorescent lighting; I prefer lamps and lots of ’em. Working from home lets me stay focused on all the writing I need to do as a late-stage doctoral student while listening to whatever music I want and without spending money on gas or getting nauseated on the Michigan buses.
Assuming you already have a good space at home that can serve as an office (and nothing else), I have a couple important policies that help keep working from home productive and enjoyable:
- Make lunch plans with people at least a couple times a week, and leave the house to meet them
- Get dressed!
- Use an external monitor, ergonomic external keyboard, and good speakers
- Schedule meetings with colleagues during the week, and leave time on both ends to take advantage of being in the office (e.g. printing, catching up with colleagues, bouncing ideas off others, making plans)
- Take breaks that get you moving around
That’s what works for me. Well, I guess we’ll know if it worked when my dissertation’s actually done, but so far, so good.