At work, there is a discussion going on about how to implement a work-from-home policy. The merits revealed to me at a staff meeting was that it can provide for improved quality of life and can be useful for staff morale and retention. I have to use the MBTA rail to commute from Providence to Boston daily, which typically incurs about 3 hours on top of the 8.5 hour workday. For the native Rhode Islander, that may sound bad. But having a laptop equipped with a Verizon EVDO card allows me to make some use of that trip time online.
My immediate supervisor and I have come to an agreement to pilot this for each Thursday over the next 10-weeks. I will post a log of what I found to be the good and not-so-good about it from my perspective.
- I got to roll out of bed around 7:30am, and was ready to work in my home office by 8:00am.
- My brand of coffee and soda were conveniently nearby.
- My home office is plush with state-of-the-art equipment, desk, and a leather chair.
- Since I carry a corporate laptop anyways, I was unencumbered with using its tools to do my work.
- Modified an OS image on the SAN and powered on a server using its ILO management port, without any need for physical contact with any hardware in the datacenter.
- The ambiance was more comfortable in place of the sounds often heard in a busier and more hectic workplace.
- Instant Messaging was useful (to a point).
- For lunch, I am usually done eating in 5-minutes. The weather was mild for a New England winter day, so I took Rebecca (our dog) out for a fast-paced 20-minute walk.
- Isabella (our cat) got to use my window for her sunbathing, because she was safe from Rebecca.
- Some noticeable latencies over what you get from the office LAN throughout the day, but not atypical from other Internet use.
- I had a complicated time with a call into the Leonardo Conference room for a Disaster Recovery meeting.
- It was made complicated first, because the number was not listed in the meeting invite, and made worse that its Microsoft Exchange account properties did not have the number either.
- Fortunately, I was able to find the number from the company portal, listed ridiculously as its own department.
- The speaker phone in the room was not attached to that number, only a handset. The speaker phone did not have a label to identify its phone number. The attendees had to call me back using the speaker phone.
- The quality of its speaker phone is terrible. It takes some discipline to interact in “half-duplex” mode, that is, only speak when no one else is talking.
- A colleague is leaving for Tehran tomorrow, and part of my responsibilities is to provide backup support for his professional services. He was busily satisfying as many of the last-minute things he could take care of, and I was not there — even in a passive mode — to get a first-hand sense of changes being made. And I did not get the opportunity for a more personal send off.