It’s time to do some planning. I’ve been taking things day by day, focussing on the immediate task more than the future. Even as frivolous a thing as my SWAP has been on hold until I knew more about what I would be doing.
Well, I can’t say that I know what I will be doing. But in one week I will be working from my home, so I am thinking that I had better begin making some plans.
Working from home has some clear benefits. As #2 son pointed out right away, it means that I can greet him with cookies when he comes home from school.
This remark shows also the clear drawbacks.
Sometimes, when I am trying to do the parts of my job that are not about customer service, it is frustrating to have continual interruptions from customers and coworkers. Mostly not, though, because they are part of my job, and I can be philosophical about it. In fact, since I work in retail, the interruptions are the main part of my job, and the other things are what I do in between. Having had to look after people is always an acceptable reason for not getting other things finished, and that is just part of the territory.
That will not be true when the people I have to take care of are my kids.
We will have a couple of months when the boys are at school most of the day, and I can probably match my work time to the eight hours they spend out of the house. I will have to establish during that time some way to avoid continual interruptions and unreasonable noise levels, so that I will still be able to work in the summer without sacrificing familial harmony.
In order to hook the work computer up, I will have to put it either in my bedroom, or in #2 son’s. We have cable hookups in those two rooms, and in the living room where the family computer lives. #2 son has agreed to allow it in his room, but that means that we will need to work out the level of mess we can both tolerate, and I will have to figure out how to arrange my work space so that is does not interfere with his play space — or his schoolwork space, for that matter, since we will share a desk. Fortunately, the work computer is a Mac, so there will be no great temptation for him to play games there.
There will be school visits and conferences and workshops, and there will also be days when I have to go to the other store. Which will, after next week, be the only store. Apart, that is, from the virtual store where I will be hanging out most of the time. I may have to drive a lot more than usual. I may have to get used to working in a store where I am not the manager. I had better clean out my car and get the oil changed.
Some people find that, when they work at home, it is hard for them to get work done. The Pilates break stretches out, coffee breaks turn into TV breaks, lunch becomes a chance to catch up on housework…
I have worked from my home before, and I know that I have the opposite problem. One of the great things about my current job, as opposed to the work I did before that (teaching), is that I lock the door when I leave and I am finished. I don’t have to think about it again till I unlock the door the next morning. Already, with so much of what I am doing now being online, I find myself sneaking in a bit of work time at home. Once I am working from home, I know that it will be hard to quit working at the end of the day.
The excessively interesting life I’ve been leading lately has already interfered with healthy eating and proper housekeeping, and I can see that working from home could make things worse. Sitting most of the day (now, I sit only at lunch) and being always in reach of a kitchen could be bad for my lipids profile if I don’t watch out. Papers and other work things can creep out and take over the house, too. It is easy to look at work-related stuff and think “Oh, I’m working with that,” and mentally excuse it instead of putting it away. Since my home computer is a PC, there are always going to be work things that are easier on it than on the Mac, so there will always be a temptation to bring work stuff out to the living room, even if I make the effort to prepare a nice “office” space for myself in my unfortunate son’s bedroom.
In general, forewarned is forearmed, and making a plan to deal with potential problems is the best way to avoid having to deal with them. But in this case, I still don’t really know what I’m going to be doing, so it is hard to plan. I am going to give it a try, though.