Monday, July 14, 2008

On Working from Home: Articulate the Plan Well

So here it is, summer, and I am feeling torn, as I did last year at this time.

My son is out of school. The main reason that I work part time from home is because he goes to school, and I need to be a functioning part of the carpool. I'll admit that I haven't necessarily gotten over my freelancing days, either, and I like the freedom of working how I wish without an office environment all the time, too.

I'd explained to my employers that getting him back and forth to preschool is the primary reason for my work-at-home status. As I've said before, they are really very supportive of the situation, and I can't really put my finger on a time, ever, where I've been given a hard time about asking for/notifying them of flexibility needs.

With that said, whether it's the guilt demons in my head or an actual vibe I get from a co-worker or two, I have a hard time reconciling the fact that I am not "required" to be home and I am still heading out early to work from home a couple days a week.

I like that I have a regular schedule. That I am home a little more, even if I am working. That I can see them that much earlier at the end of my day, and they know I am "here". Why upset that just because I'm not required to drive him to school two times a week?

Two points come out of this to think about, if you're going to consider a similar arrangement.
  1. When you negotiate your flex-time, or days from home, or however you are approaching it...don't be too detailed. I will be taking/need "x" days at home. Period. Don't undo your flexibility by backing into a slim schedule. Most likely, it won't benefit you in the long run, and it will be difficult to re-negotiate. (There is probably a whole other post hidden in "will take" vs. "need"....)
  2. Get over it! Priorities are priorities. And perhaps the fact that your priorities are in order make someone else uncomfortable. Remember that's their problem, not yours. At least that's what I'm going to try to do.


pve design said...

Where were you when I was trying to negotiate a 4 day work week? It ended in my final deal to be at-home and to work on my own. (Deal or NO Deal!) It has been 10 years now and I do miss those office coffee breaks, lunches and glamourous travel (flew on the Concorde!) to far and distant places. BUT, I can never replace the joy of raising 3 rising stars of my life, all the joy and all the hard work of being an at home Mom and Artist. Sure, the trade-off was a list of pros and cons. Pros won. Working from Home has it's rewards, things like your child making Honor Roll , making home made lunches, being there for pick-up or a call from the Nurse, Wa Wa Wa (Peanuts) The rewards are priceless and we all know that money can't buy that.

googs said...

The yellow is too "mustardy."

N said...

Thanks pve (and welcome back!) Kindred mommy spirits.

Yes Googs, you are right. I was thinking about that when I looked at it this morning. Better?

Kwana said...

Great post N. All this will make a wonderful handbook on how to to show your hand. These issues are so tough. When I was trying to negotiate and do it all I ended up backed in a corner and had to fish or cut bait. I guess I cut bait and never looked back. The guilt thing is so crazy. Why feel guilt over our family AND the folks who feel no guilt over us?

N said...

Bingo, K. Bingo.