One Little Word

2009 July 8
by Elizabeth Damewood Gaucher

Living in the Shadow of the Past
Creative Commons License photo credit: Shyald

So often, it’s one little word that defines what we are doing.

For about a year now I’ve been thinking about adding a small structure to my property– such as the ones found here — so I can go from working at home to working from home. The distinction is significant.

My existing house is not very big, and my family uses every square inch for pure living. I want to do two things: 1) Carve out my own work space and really define it as an environment for creativity and productivity; and 2) Preserve my home as the place where we gather and eat and sleep and play as a family. I’ve always cringed at the home offices where someone is still physically in the house, but unavailable to be engaged in the business of family life.

More and more of us need to be able to work from home. Employers are cutting costs by reducing office space and requiring employees to be off-site. In addition, many people no longer have a traditional employer, but work for themselves on a contract basis with multiple clients.

The idea of working from home has a legendary appeal. The key is to recognize that it may turn out to be just a legend unless you honor the important differences between work and home as spaces with unique requirements and functions. Be honest with yourself about what you need to get work done, and be purposeful about creating both that space and time.

Being successful in the new world of work is about more than a wireless connection and bunny slippers. It’s about being able to perform well in alternative settings, and it is a big advantage to acknowledge that those spaces still need to be conducive to work/life balance as well as getting the job done.

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