Tuesday, 1 August 2006

Let me go home

Yesterday I had to work from home.
The reason was identified on Sunday night, when our next door neighbor knocked on our door telling us their sewage (which is also ours) was flooding their backyard. One thing led to another, and after $150 went down the drain the sewage pipes were unblocked; but then we discovered my a mere coincidence that there's a bit of a flood under our kitchen, too (allow me to stress the word "under").
So I had to be at home when the plumber made a comeback on Monday morning (the next daylight) to see what's going on. He disassembled a few bits of wood that make up our backyard deck to reveal an amusing vista (amusing if it wasn't for the fact we're living in this house): there was one pipe coming out of the kitchen; there was another pipe coming from the sewage network; and in between those two pipes there were about 5 centimeters of air.
The problem was quickly fixed and I was able to do some work from home. Before we go to the work from home part of this blog, I will state that it's obvious that this was all the fault of the mother-f*cker plumber we had a month ago, who came to fix the leak in our kitchen.
Everybody knows that when you burn enough carbon, you end up getting global warming. That plumber (who, I can assure you, certainly f*cks his mother) was not up to this cause-and-effect phenomenon, and didn't realize that if you pull one pipe out it is bound to cause a chain effect down the line. Or down the drain.
It took $60 to fix this problem; but the thing is that both Jo & I had nightmares and quite a lot of anxiety the night before, when we had no idea what the problem is but feared the worst: knocked down deck, holes in the walls, and a bill to match. Once again I witnessed at first hand just how fragile life can be with just a tad bit of uncertainty thrown in. That anxiety, or rather its prevention, is worth a lot; much more than $210. But one doesn't tend to appreciate until things mess up.

But let's move on into something more comfortable. Much more comfortable. I'm talking about working from home.
I actually amazed myself at how effective I was working from home. In the quiet home environment, without the constant distractions that you get at an open space office, work just flows along; and if I find myself only capable of delivering between one to two hours net worth of work during a day at the office (if you think that's low please count how much time you spend really delivering), at home I was able to pump between five to six hours (from the time I finished lunch till I went to pick Jo up) while cruising along.
There were a few other reasons for being able to achieve that.
First on the agenda is clothing. At home you don't need to wear fancy pants that constantly grab you by the balls and result in you having to shift your position every minute and a half in a desperate attempt to still be able to bring children to the world in the foreseeable future. You also don't need to wear a collared shirt, and you definitely don't need a neck breaking tie. Because when at home, all you need is a track suit.
Second on the agenda are the facilities at hand. While I did have disadvantage of not being able to work with people face to face, I did have my cordless phone (and people did call me when invited to over email) and I did have my desktop. And let me tell you, you only realize what a difference a good desktop with good software installed on it makes after working with Lotus-f*cking-Notes for several months. The delight of working on a machine that runs modern age software! The pleasure of having admin rights on your machine, allowing you to have a wallpaper of your choice rather than a dull blue background! And most of all, the delight of using Gmail and not the ultra shitty Lotus Notes!
What a difference an email system can make. Within two minutes you realize that such a small feature as being notified when new email arrives is something that can make or break your sanity. And yes, it also improves productivity.
But work wouldn't be achievable if it wasn't for the slight distractions that get you through the day. And for that I have MSN Messenger at home with a wide network of friends - the forbidden fruit when it comes to my current office's desk. An instant messaging system like Messenger could be so useful at our office, yet when I asked around I was told that a similar IBM based system was tried and then discarded after no one bothered to login. Which shows two things: That people in my office can't see a good thing when they have it, and that they seem to have this fatal attraction to shit systems when a superior (and in this case, free) product is on offer.
Anyway, the bottom line is that I'm looking forward to working from home more often. Regardless of the track suit and the desktop elements, just the fact you save more than a couple of hours a day cutting the commute off makes a huge difference.


K Williams said...

I could not agree more - working from home is something both me and my boss enjoy in terms of productivity; but I should also add that I consider myself a bit luckier too. My workplace (a very much-discussed bank recently known for sponsoring the Socceroos)offers us VPN, which means that
a. I keep my home PC for personal use only
b. On the way home I can synchronise my day's work via XP Offline Files, work on my own work laptop as is at was at my desk and synchronise again when back in the office
c. I get to connect to work's network from anywhere (assuming that internet access is available)
d. I can't get away from shitty Lotus Notes...

Who said you can have everything? But I value the current offering. It's by no means perfect but it does allow me to keep being productive AND happy at the same time.

Moshe Reuveni said...

We're not as technologically advanced as your rich lot.
Only a priveleged few amongst us get VPN access. And those that do can only use it via... dialup.
Which explains why I don't even think of asking for it, because if I want to revisit the stone age all I need to do is read some Israeli newspaper articles on how Israel is going to win its war.