It was a goal of mine at the start of the year to spend at least a day a week working from home. In reality it has turned out that it more like a day every 3 weeks, but I am gradually starting to finish up a few contracts, and set the terms of the new ones coming up to give me a bit more discretion over my time. It’s great to be busy, and have a lot going on, but I have found the importance of staying in control of your schedule, otherwise your schedule will control you. At the moment I am also doing a wide variety of tasks for different clients. Web development, marketing, business development, seo consulting and some general IT consulting are all taxing different parts of my brains, and often have deadlines competing with each other for my attention. Not an ideal situation, but it is paying the bills and I have kept up with the challenge.
Even though I have little kids and the house is always busy, I really enjoy the variety of working from the home office when I can. It all depends on the type of work I am doing, how often I need to be on the phone, or really concentrating. Just breaking the routine of going to the office everyday gives a some variety to the week and breaks it up. You get more done and everything feels a bit more fresh.
Ideally what I want is to have work that is :
Non Time Based : Work that I can do at anytime, whenever there is time that I have allocated. I don’t want to be constrained by the 9-5 (or 8-6 in reality) of the regular work week. Sometimes I get my best work completed between 6am and 9am, sometimes between 8pm and 12pm if I have the free time. I know that there are times where I can get a ton of work done in an hour, and some where I am really pushing it to get anything done at all. Not often, but it happens.
Hopefully, as businesses move beyond the idea of keeping everyone on a digital leash, they will get more behind the idea of using the technology to free their workers and help to make them happy. Having a workforce of well rounded human beings will be just as much a part of company culture as making a profit. As long as people make the deadlines then they should have the freedom to set the hours when they work. This will also allow people more flexible time to be with family, participate in community activities and reduce the amount peak hour commuters going to work etc.
Non Location Based : Same as above, but not having an actual “workplace” where I have to be everyday. At the moment the contracts I have dictate that I am in the office of the business’s I work for about 75% of the time. I have made it a goal to reduce this by moving away from client based work and towards product based business activities. From a societal point of view, we need to decentralise the way we work. A lot of our tax dollars go towards infrastructure that must be constantly upgraded to allow everyone to work in a central location, the city. Sure, there is something to be said for working with a team, but I know in my current work that I am constantly meeting people in various locations other then the office, or over the web to have meetings and strategise, co-ordinate and collaborate.
I want to be able to take the family away for 3 weeks at a time to various places around the country, and still be able to work a few hours a day maintaining my business.
Even 5 years ago, if you talked like this people would say that you are an idealist, that you were living in fantasy land if you thought that this was possible. But modern technology, changing attitudes and just the realities of modern life are making these things possible. These practices are good for peoples mental health, good for society, good for the environment.
Start putting your plans to make them happen in action today. I know that I am.