From 3M Health Information Systems
Working from home: My journey
Just as my life was rolling along smoothly….my life abruptly changed.
I suddenly found myself raising my one-year-old grandson, Jay. My sister became very ill and was not able to live alone. So, my life went from party of one to party of three. That took some adjustment, but it all came together.
The company I worked for was very understanding and allowed me to work from home. I was over the moon! With this terrific new opportunity, I saw only great things ahead.
Let me start with the pros:
- Getting to sleep later in the morning. After all, it takes less time getting ready for the day, no make-up, hair in a ponytail, yoga pants and t-shirt for my daily attire. Huge perk!
- No 45-minute commute to work.
- No more cubicles. I have a real office! One with a door that closes.
- No talking across the office. For me, that relieved a big distraction.
- Being home for Jay after preschool.
This was heaven, but I soon found that with it came with some cons.
Friends and family learned I was “working at home” and suddenly they were calling me to “chat” in the middle of the work day. Then the foot traffic began. I live on a golf course and I have discovered that it is a lot like living in a fish bowl.
The Garden Club, Wine and Book Club, the Women’s Bible Study group, every group stopped by to ask if I would like to join. After all, I was home during the day now. I started to wonder how many people came by my house while I was working away from home.
All this is not to say I did not create cons on my own.
I found myself sitting, staring at the computer for hours on end. No breaks, no stretching and many days passing up lunch. Not a healthy choice. I found myself working after dinner, late into the night, on weekends and even on holidays.
I soon realized I had no outside socialization. I had become a hermit. I found myself consumed with my work.
Ok, I got it! …. Boundaries had to be set:
- Put Jay on the bus at 7:15 am.
- Put a “DO NOT DISTURB between hours of 7:00 am until 4:30 pm” sign on the front door.
- Turn off the cell phone. My office and Jay’s school called on the landline.
Working from home takes time management to a whole new level!
Your work is always there. There is always going to be something left to be done. The boundaries I set for others, I had to learn to set for myself. No more working on holidays over weekends or late into the evening after Jay was tucked in for the night. It was about balance then and it’s still about life balance today.
I’m still learning techniques of creative problem solving. I’m still learning how to be fearless and jump into daily challenges. I’m still learning new things every single day! But that’s what is exciting about the start of each day.
My journey working from home, started 13 years ago, and continues today.
I am anxious to hear your stories of working from home. Share your experience in the comment section.
Pamela Ewing, CPC, CLA, is a coding analyst for 3M Health Information Systems.