Expat Magazine

"Working" from Home

By Expatmum @tonihargis
There's a collective hissy-fit going on here at the moment. The new CEO of Yahoo (a working mother) has decreed that as of June, everyone has to come into the office. No more tele-commuting.
I'm a bit torn about the whole issue. In Silicone Valley (California) lots of people tele-commute because  otherwise they'd spend hours in the car each day. (The hellacious lanes of traffic you often see on TV? - not wrong.) If you took a job a few years ago on the basis that you could tele-commute, it's a bit of a blow to suddenly be told that you have to get your little tooshie into the office every day.
The biggest backlash however, has come from those in favor of parents (a.k.a mothers) who work from home so that they can fit their work around the kids. And here, I'm torn. I've worked in an office and I've worked from home, and I can tell you right now, I'm a lot more productive when I'm not parked  next to the kitchen and down the stairs from the laundry basket.  Yes, mothers in office situations are still probably booking dental appointments on work time, but there's a definite limit to the domestic distractions there. Even if you have someone else in the house watching your children while you work (which somehow I don't think many people do), it's often difficult to be 100% focused.
Take my days, for example. The boys leave for school at about 8am. Often, I do an hour's bloggy stuff then either jump on the treadmill or have a shower and make myself presentable. Between my desk and the shower however, there's usually a dishwasher to load/unload, a dog to be fed, a small pile of stuff-to-be-taken-upstairs at the bottom of said stairs, a pile of laundry to be put in or transferred to the dryer, three million lights to be switched off, and wet towels to be picked off the floor. And that's just on the way upstairs.
Even when I schedule my work tasks by the hour (as I try to do), I'm sitting right next to the phone, so when the carper cleaner's number comes up, I take it. Ditto the car repair man, the plumber and my dentist's receptionist. Granted, it only takes a minute to deal with the calls, but it usually means I have to then stand up, walk somewhere else to do something, forget what I was doing before the phone call, then get myself back in "work mode". That's if I don't suddenly remember that I haven't taken anything out of the freezer for dinner. Time wasted. I'm self employed so the only one who loses out is me, but I'd be pretty annoyed if I was the employer and the people "working from home" were similarly unfocused.
I don't know. Like I said, I'm torn on the issue. What do you think?

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