I’ve been working from home for a year and a half now, and I’ve had enough. It’s time for an office.
Yeah, I know, I used to brag about how cool it was, and how nice it was to work in pajamas. The conveniences are still there mind you. I can always be available for FedEx, phone guys and plumbers, and accepting various other deliveries. I spend 2 minutes making coffee, and that is the gist of my “getting ready” in the morning. I don’t have to drive to work, and suffer the 3 hours a day sitting in a hot car, wasting money on gas, and robbing myself of 3 weeks of my life a year. All that stress during the commute is never accumilated. I’m in my home environment, in my personal office, with copious amounts of food (sometimes) in comfortable surroundings. My puppy dogs are asleep at my feet. What setting could be better to code in?
And that’s the problem. It’s my home, not my work.
A friend of ours once diagnosed her majesty and I with a problem. She noticed my gaming systems in the bedroom, with the bed aimed at the TV, and all of her majesty’s toys next to the bed. This wasn’t a bedroom, but where her majesty and I relaxed. You are supposed to do that in the living room if you have one. It was just nice to be relaxed while I played games and could spend time with her majesty while she knit or blogged or whatever. However, it cost us sleep. I already have mild insomnia, and she can’t sleep if I’m not sleeping. We were bluntly told to only sleep in the bedroom; if I wanted to play games, if she wanted to knit or blog, or if either of us wanted to watch a movie or TV, we’d have to do so in the living room.
So, I moved all of our shiz, and we re-arranged, the bed to not face the TV. We moved the TV out, too. Within 2 weeks, I was finding it easier to sleep, and other positive things came from the living room situation as well. In short, it was an appropriate use of rooms.
I think I’m not using my office appropriately. Although it’s my “man cave”, it harbors a lot of negativity. All the pain, frustration, and anger of my day stays there. I’m not very good at dropping things either. That attitude is what helps me spend hours solving a simple problem. It’s also a curse, though, when working from home. You can’t “leave it at work”. It’s one thing to discuss your day to get it off your chest; it’s another to return to the room to finishing working. I’ve even found myself some days dreading going into the room. This is the same room that inspires me to create, the same room that has Flex 2 & Flash 8 installed on my gaming box… and I even hesitate? Do you see the horror of the situation?
When her majesty comes home from work, the home becomes a different place. She “lives here” while I’m working. It’s hard to switch modes. I’ve done it, but it robs me of distraction sometimes. If she catches me at a stopping point, or when I’m merely merging & checking code in, it’s really not a big deal at all. But if I’m in the middle of debugging, or on the phone, conversing with co-workers, or talking to clients… it’s rough. I want to be the house husband, but I need to be working. Taking a break is hard because so near to the end of the day, it’s hard to keep the momentum going if you haven’t started something cool at like 3:00.
I always thought working from home would be awesome. I remember reading Sean Voisen’s experience about he was lonely, and wanted to be on a team in person. Hah! Dude, I so was not going to be lonely, and I can still work with a team I thought. Yeah, but you can never leave the tribulations elsewhere, you never have a sanctuary, and work is always a click away. Without a proper balance, you end up like me, blogging when you should be passed out exhausted. Don’t get the wrong idea; the good and great days I have at work do propagate into the house hold, but they don’t belong there. They belong at work.
I had her majesty do reacon last week, and I did some searching today. A wide vareity of places are available, but I’m taking my boss’ advice, and only getting what I’m excited about. I was planning on getting the cheapest place I could find, but he said I’d hate it, and I believe him after playing it out in my mind.
One thing that won’t change is telecommuting. I’ll still telecommute to work. We have consultants all over the place, and my team and I can still collaborate, kick arse, and take numbers regardless of where we are. If a client needs me on site, I can do that too. For the day to day operations, I’ll need a new base of operations, and it’s not my home.
I think in the meantime, I’ll fix the regenerated Alienware laptop, and head to the local mom and pop donut & sandwhich shop to work at a few times a week. They have the fastest wireless I’ve ever seen, and overpriced sandwhiches. Being forced to get dressed daily will be weird, but something’s gotta give.
Any office buying advice?