During this week’s business trip to New York, I worked from my hotel room when I wasn’t in client meetings, rather than playing another round of Occupy Open Cubicle in my company’s midtown office.
I am the sort of person who usually does best when immersed in an office environment. Being at a desk, at an office computer, reinforces the “now it’s time to get work done” mentality. It’s not unusual for me to look up at 1 p.m. and suddenly realize that I haven’t left my desk for four straight hours because I’ve been waist-deep in projects.
At home, though … well, let’s put it this way. Between typing the previous paragraph and this one, I got up and:
- Took a load of laundry out of the washer, took some things outside to line-dry and put the rest in the dryer.
- Logged on to Dollar Shave Club to add another handle to next month’s order, because the “improved” one they sent in May broke while I was in New York. (I do like that service, because I can opt for bimonthly delivery, instead of monthly.)
- Watched people pull up to tour the recently reduced yet still incredibly overpriced house across the street, which has been for sale for like a year, and chortled.
- Started making a list of things I need to get at the grocery store.
- Sorted mail.
Trying to pull multi-megabyte files off a remote server (or drop the updated ones back on) can take forever, which just leads to more opportunities to wander. So when I’m traveling to meet with my New York clients, I’ve opted to spend the rest of my office hours … in the office. But I’m so used to Western-sized digs that the Manhattan-scaled cubicles make me feel like a penned-up veal calf. And since I’m not there enough to have a badge, I keep our First Impression team busy with comings and goings to meetings, meals, or even restroom trips.
So this time, I tried something different. Our company has installed a web-based sharing platform that makes transferring files superfast; what used to take 10 minutes now takes 10 seconds — as long as there’s someone at home base who’s able to access the files and drop them online to be shared (or pull them off after I’ve updated them). This week was my test run of the platform, which worked like a charm, which meant I could hole up in my room. It helped that there was an actual, full-sized desk in the room; sitting there instead of, say, sprawling on the bed reinforced the (pardon my neologism) workingness of it all.
And at the end of the day, I realized: “You just spent the day getting stuff done while wearing a sleep pants and a hotel robe, while a pumpkin enzyme mask sizzled away on your face. I’m beginning to see why people like to work from home.”