Working From Home

Day in and day out, five days a week, most employees drudge through the same routine: a commute to the office where they spend the next eight hours or so getting through the day’s tasks. Then it’s back into the car for the long, sometimes stressful drive back home through rush hour. And repeat. Depending on the time of year, this gets prolonged, complicated by things like freezing rain or snow and fellow commuters. The daily miles on vehicles bring added expenses in terms of auto insurance, maintenance and gas money. There’s just no hiding the fact that an eight-hour work day and any commute makes maintaining balance among the minutiae of our lives tricky.

Room & Board’s Shop From Home Design Associates live a different life these days, thanks in part to the department’s Work From Home program. Three days a week, tenured staff members work from offices conveniently located within our own homes. To Room & Board customers, the experience feels no different. For us staff members, the change has had a surprising and resoundingly positive impact on our lives.

My commute now consists of a walk down the hall. In the comfort of bare feet and a ponytail, I fire up my computer and log into a remote system that looks and feels exactly like the one in our Central offices. While that’s happening, I’ll pad downstairs to start my favorite coffee brewing, hug my littles, braid their hair and maybe scramble an egg for breakfast. At my designated start time, I’ll be ready to work with little to no effort and all the comforts of home. During lunch break, I can throw in a load of laundry, fold another load, start dinner preparations or go for a run around my own neighborhood.

And then there are the pleasant surprises, the unexpected calming and restorative boosts that each of us has found through the smallest of things like the sound of birds chirping or the breeze that rolls in through the screen windows on an early summer morning. The other day was busy and in the midst of the juggle I spotted the neighbor’s yellow Labrador, Daisy, from my second story home office window. She was rolling on her back in the green grass, her tail wagging and a silly dog grin plastered across her face, looking up at the clouds. Moments like these somehow manage to help me maintain my energy, a positive attitude and get through tasks more efficiently and with less effort.

When my shift is up, I log off, power down and step a few feet back into my home life. I have a few less to-dos. The balancing act has gotten easier.