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Thursday, July 05, 2012

And so it begins

Today is the first at-home day of Joe's new job. I've been working from home now for quite awhile and I've become accustomed to having the place to myself during the day. And he's been accustomed to an often lousy commute to an office where he ran from meeting to meeting with some periods of time in his cubicle in the middle of a noisy space.

This is going to be a big change for both of us. But I'm excited for it to be a good change. This is one of those examples of a time when our attitude and approach can make a big difference.

We are fortunate that our home is large enough to provide us with separate work spaces. An upstairs bedroom serves as his office and he can close the door. We also have a bonus room over the garage where my craft desk and work desk are located. And then there's the downstairs where I sometimes go to escape the heat (the bonus room is poorly insulated).

He actually started the new job on Monday. He traveled to meet his boss and his boss's boss for two days of orientation. It's already clear that this job is going to require a lot of flexibility and ability to roll with the circumstances (something I'm not exactly known for). Monday night, he told me he'd be working from home all next week. Tuesday at noon, we found out they're putting him on a project that will involve travel the first part of the week. This is apparently typical.

I think the biggest key to making this work for both of us will involve respect. We both need to respect boundaries and space. We need to not interrupt. We need to be aware that we have different working styles. We need to both kind of go about our day individually while being aware that we aren't the only ones working in this space. And we're both going to need to locate our headphones. 

Communication will be important too. Yay for living in a digital age - we have a shared online space that we use to communicate a lot of those little things that come up during the day. You don't want to forget them, but you also don't want to interrupt to share them RIGHT NOW! They don't usually require immediate attention so on the list they go for whenever the other person has the time to look them over. We use similar tools to keep track of things that need to be done to the house, items to pick up at the grocery store, etc. It's worked for us in the past so I'm hoping it keeps working.

It's going to be a very all-or-nothing situation with this job. Forget going into the office in the morning and coming home at some point in the evening. He's either going to be here all day or he's going to be gone all day. Good times...

Anyone out there who works from home or has a spouse working from home or you're both home during the day or he travels? Any tips for making this a productive experience? 


Tami said...

I have no helpful advice whatsoever, but I'm thrilled that Joe found a job he can enjoy. I know you'll come up with a way to make it work. Your list idea sounds like a great start.

Referring back to a post from a day or two ago - hang in there on the weight loss. I know you're committed to exercise - you inspire me to get my butt to the treadmill some days when I really don't want to.

That corgi :) said...

Oh gosh, Cate, I missed this somehow that Joe would be working at home some days. I'm terrible to give advice because I'm struggling with having hubby here during the days and we're going on 18 months. I still miss my alone time. But you laid down some key components that you guys need to be respectful of, like boundaries, privacy, communication, etc. When we first moved here, I told hubby that I needed some quiet alone time in the mornings to do my Bible reading/praying, so when it is that time if he is in the den where I do them, he goes back to the bedroom and watches TV or takes his laptop with him.

My hardest problem is for breakfast and lunch I would grab something and then eat it in front of the computer (I know bad habit) and check emails, read blogs. I eat with him now, which is nice, but I really do miss that break time that I had just for myself.

It is good Joe will be going out of town here and there, as long as it is not too much travel, so you will have the break. Between you and me, but not to discourage you, you'll appreciate them.

good luck with it!!


Andrea said...

I think you have covered all the bases. Anything else that is needed will become apparent to you as you get into a routine. What somebody else does may not work for you. It is better just to follow your nose and see where it takes you. You will know if something needs to change and communication with your husband is the first priority. Sounds Great to me ... I hope Joes loves the job and it is fulfilling for him. You will be fine ... you have a good handle on life. Best of Luck to both of you.

Andrea @ From The Sol

C. Beth said...

I love the idea of a "shared online space" for those mid-day communications.

Sounds like the only other thing you'll need is lots of flexibility since his plans may be often changing at the last minute!

Toriz said...

Flexibility and communication. Maybe get in the habit of getting up together and having breakfast together and over breakfast discuss the planned routine/schedule/to-do list for that day so you both know what you'll be doing and when is going to be the least convenient time for interruptions. Speaking as someone who spends most of the time with her hubby, I can tell you that some alone time is essential, so the seporate work spaces is a good plan.

Unlike others before me, I don't like the communicating via online space thing. People need short breaks from working from time to time anyway, so why not discuss break times, plan them together, and discuss things in person then? I mean, nothing beats the one-to-one contact of a conversation held face to face.

John said...

My company has a very, very flexible "work from home" policy. Basically, as long as I'm responsive, I can take a day or two a week to work from home.

But, for now, I do not, unless it's unavoidable. Simply, the kids & the dogs don't understand "daddy's working" enough to ensure that I am actually working, and I'm too distracted by shiny things to ensure that I keep myself occupied by what I should be keeping myself occupied with.

Mama Zen said...

Oh, wow. It sounds like you've thought through what needs to happen to make it work. Honestly, I don't think that I could do it.

restlessjo said...

You're lucky to have the separate office space. Mine works from home, at the kitchen table, and his mutterings sometimes drive me crazy.
Flexibility! Still something I struggle with, after all these years. I'm sure you'll make it work.