I consider myself very lucky to work for a company where this is normal. I have met colleagues who work from their home in the Arizona desert, on Vancouver Island in Canada, on Waiheke Island near Auckland, New Zealand, in Perth, Macau and on Scotland Island in Sydney. Everyone in the company has a notebook computer; there are no desktops. With the increase in fuel costs, traffic and natural and other disasters, I think this is a very smart move. In an emergency situation, almost the entire company can do their jobs from home. But even in a company with the technology set-up and culture and experience to support remote workers, being able to do so successfully is still dependent on having a supportive manager and management team, and I'm lucky in that regard too.
Twitter, instant messenger and the dog, but that has its upsides to be honest!
However, there are things I need to do better:
- Get out more. Late yesterday afternoon I drove into Hobart for networking drinks organised by the Public Relations Institute of Australia. It was the first time I had met other PR people in Tasmania. Some of these people are in the same situation as me. One suggested catching up for coffee in the new year, so I'll be following up on that idea. I go to local business dinners with David, put on by the Huon Valley Business Enterprise Centre, but there may be other networks that are useful. Also it means I put on a suit! And as much as I dislike being away, I also need to travel to see people more. Relationships are worth investing in.
- Exercise. In Sydney I had regular appointments to train with the totally brilliant Wild Women on Top, and I always kept that commitment, rain, shine or headache. When working from home I walked the dog every afternoon. Here I have failed to keep any commitment made to myself to keep up the hiking training, and the dogs have a huge paddock to run around in. Sitting at a computer all day long is not doing me any good at all. To change this, I have to set a big hiking goal to train towards.
- Webinars. I used to attend these more when I was in Sydney, and in the absence of PR colleagues to discuss ideas with, I found them a time-efficient way of thinking outside the day-to-day.
- Weekly 'team' meeting. Or Friday drinks, like the office-dwellers do. David and I have a regular breakfast booked in at a local cafe, but I need to do a better job of actually using the time to discuss our work.
- Keep more regular desk hours. With most of my team between one and eight hours behind me (and worse in summer), a lot of the email and calls fall late in the day my time. That's hard because I'd prefer to work early and finish before I am brain dead and inefficient. I don't have a good answer for this one yet. To be honest it was no different in Sydney.