2009 21/03

The End of the Company Picnic

It seems like more and more people I meet either work at home or work in the virtual world. No cubicles. No clock to punch. No company break room. Instead, they work from their home office. Clock in to their computer. And the company break room is the dinner table. I am one of those people.

I used to work in the real world. I shared office space with other people and often went out to coffee and lunch with co-workers. Not anymore. I traded all of that to work from home and stay home with my girls. I’m going to put aside me as a stay-at-home-mom and talk more about me as a working-at-home woman.

When I think about my life before, in the office environment, and then think about my life now, I’m not sure which I like more. There were things about both that I like. And there are things about each life that I don’t like.

Working with others virtually is great for tapping resources all over the world. Your options are limitless when you are not bound by proximity. With things like email and Skype and GoogleDocs, you can work effortlessly with your co-worker in LA while you sit in Boston.

But then, there are the downfalls. By working at home I miss out on the physical comradery of working in an office. I miss out on venting to the person at the desk next to me when I’ve had a bad day. Sure, I can always go online to forums or blogs or Twitter and vent but that takes effort! And then there are the things like company Christmas parties and picnics, conferences, and Happy Hour!

Mostly though, I think I miss punching the clock. Ok, not that I really “punched a clock” (except when I worked at Mr. Ed’s IGA in high school) but I miss the whole getting to work by 8am and counting down the minutes until the clock hit 5pm thing. When I work at home, I clock-in for fifteen minutes here, two hours there. I work when I get the chance or when there is something I need to get done. It’s a weird thing.

Like I said, there are ups and downs for both sides I guess. Why am I writing all of this? Hmm, that’s a good question. I guess it’s because I am faced with the fact that life is different now that I work at home when my husband is gone over the weekend. See, when he is home on the weekend then it feels like I have a weekend. It feels like I’ve worked my Monday – Friday job and now I’m just doing the weekend parenting thing with my husband by my side. But when he is gone on the weekend or when he has to work over the weekend, then I have no separation. My Saturday feels just like my Tuesday or my Wednesday. Except Days of Our Lives isn’t on tv on Saturdays.

What do you think? Do you work from your home? Do you work in an office? What do you think about this trend that the world is moving to a more virtual workforce? Are you going to miss the company picnic?

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