All in all for the last 5 years I’ve worked exclusively from home, and prior to that it was on and off depending on circumstances, and so on. During this time I’ve often been asked the same sort of questions over and over again;
- “Is it lonely?”
- “How hard is it to motivate yourself? I don’t think I could get stuff done!”
The first question I can understand. Sometimes you do need to see someone else, physically there in front of you, but to be frank, I’ve never been a great social animal, which probably helps massively. Second I speak with the other guys that I work with quite a lot during the day (unless I’ve got my head stuck in a particularly complex project or issue). We use Skype, our VoIP phone system and an internal IRC server to communicate. We joke, we talk movies, share stupid links occasionally, everything you’d get in a normal office - just with a bit of geographical distance. Often people find this quite hard to grasp when I explain this.
To a certain extent I can understand the view point of the second question; It can be hard sometimes. However (and this is the big secret to working at home) if you love your job, to the point that you’d probably be doing the same sort of things if you were unemployed, then working from home shouldn’t be any harder for you than working in an office. If you’re not in the same boat as me, which is loving your job, then you’re right getting motivated would be frakking hard work.
However, there is a bit of a downside with working from home, and that is simply balancing work and home life. I won’t pretend that I have the answers to this one, because honestly I don’t. I’m very bad at separating what I’m told should be 2 different ways of life. However, part of the problem is that I do have to do a reasonable amount of stuff outside of the normal 9-5 hours. Sometimes it’s hard to perform maintenance on systems when the customers you’re working for don’t always have the financial, or other, capacity to build highly available systems.
So why the post? Partially I felt that I didn’t really have anything interesting to write about from work. There’s some stuff about the “new” IBM IMM (Integrated Management Module) that I’ve only just had the opportunity to play with, since we’ve not put any new servers in for sometime. At the end of the day by standard IMM is nice, but you really need the Virtual Media Key to make the most of it (which provides remote presence, and remote media features) - which for about £200 is totally worth it and necessary if you’ve used other fully featured remote management/lights out cards in the past.
The other reason is that I was reading an old copy of .NET magazine that I’ve half-inched from Chris where the 37Signals partner David Heinemeier Hansson has a page (once you remove the images) article about the worth ethic being 37Signals. One of which is that he believes workaholics should be fired, and he explains why. Great article and interesting to see how creative companies work. I just struggle to see many people in my line of work, and similar ones, that aren’t workaholics, simply because they really love what they do. But does that make us workaholics?