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I can work from home some of the time, which can be great and not so great. I'm a college prof, so on the days I have classes obviously I'm on campus (2 definite every week, usually there another day for meetings). Some days I go in while the kids are in school and leave in time to get them, so to them it doesn't really seem like I was at work.
With email and remote access to campus, I can do a lot from home. I have two classes that email weekly assignments so I can grade from home and I can get papers written and communicate with students via email. The down side is that it is VERY hard to get work done when the kids are home. Half days and snow days (like today) are full of constant interruptions. And if they have friends over it's nearly impossible to concentrate. I end up doing a lot of work after they go to bed.
I'm very thankful for the flexibility but it's still not a perfect work/family balance.
DS, 10/07. Allergies: peanut, egg, wheat. We've added dairy back in. And taken it back out again. It causes sandpaper skin with itchy patches and thrashing during sleep. Due w/ #2 late April, 2012.
I couldn't work at home in my current career even if I wanted to. I am a zookeeper and need to be present at the zoo, for my animals. I love my job and actually do enjoy the break from home. I miss son and family but really wouldn't have it any other way. My partner works when I come home so we don't have to deal with daycare or anything of that nature. That makes it much easier to work out of the home for me.
professor & maman de DS1 (6) & DS2 (1)
I work for myself and work exclusively from home (other than for meetings). Working from home, while awesome in many ways, is not a silver bullet either.
1. Working from home does not equal no childcare. We have an au pair who watches the boys while we work. Childcare for us is essential. I have tried to work without childcare and, other than now and again, it is very very hard on all of us, kids and adults alike.
2. I have a big house and dh and I both have our own offices. We have had to give up a bedroom and a downstairs room for office space. I actually share an office with my operations director. Most people do not have the dedicated space we have. We also have a business internet account, VOIP line, laptops, etc. basically some real office infrastructure required in order to work from home. I have a friend who had to give up freelancing/working from home because she couldn't get broadband internet at home and her cell got nasty coverage in her neighborhood. She had no way to communicate with the outside world.
3. While growing, working from home does not (yet) have the respect in most offices. I know that when I tried to organize a work from home schedule with my former boss (which lead to me quitting), he was very dismissive and basically thought I was asking to work part time.
4. There are very few jobs that offer real work from home. Most places let you work one day from home, as a huge treat. Flexible hours means you can come in any time between 8 and 9 and then leave 9 hours later. <sarcasm>Oh the freedom </sarcasm>
5. If you work exclusively or primarily from home (or even off site), it is very easy to lose touch with colleagues, politics, informal decision making, etc that still takes place around the coffee pot or before meetings officially start. We had a deputy director for our project who worked from Boston and she was really out of the loop most of the time (there were also some politics involved too - my boss used her distance as a way to cut her out of a lot of decision making - crazy place).
6. back to kids - frankly, the kids can be very disruptive at times, even with childcare. I was on a conference call yesterday, and my 5 year old decided he wanted to sing at the top of his lungs right outside the office. I had to get off my call and physically move him to another part of the house so I could hear the call.
It was a snow day and the roads dangerous, so he and our au pair and other son were trapped in the house. Most days, they are at preschool in the AM and our au pair takes them to playgrounds, playdates, etc. in the afternoon. So in many ways, we are home, but our kids aren't so what is the point of being home? (other than the fabulous commute).
7. it is MUCH harder to separate home and work when your work is only steps away. I don't get snow days. I don't get real vacations, days off, evenings off, because the email, cell, work is always there. We have to be very self disciplined in turning off the work - much more so than if there were that physical separation of work and home.
I read some study years ago that was premised on working-at-home being the worst of the three choices. Especially with young kids. They see mama at home, but don't understand that she cannot be interrupted because she is on "company time". Or mama can't get her work done because of the constant childish interruptions. Even with a babysitter or a SAHD/P, if mama is home, most kids prefer mama. So you end up sending the baby to daycare. If baby is in daycare, doesn't that defeat the purpose?
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