Every department and company can develop its’ own nomenclature. Our department certainly falls into this. In fact, there is a couple of associated terms where two little prepositions make all the difference in the world. The terms are “working at home” and “working from home”.
Like most companies now, we have IT infrastructure in place so that employees can access enough IT resources remotely so that a good chunk of the people can do a good chunk of their work remotely. I was the one who did that at our place.
When I first started at my current job about four years ago, there was this one road warrior who was so frustrated with the connection methods and limitations that when she came into the office (every two months,) she was almost in tears with frustration. I couldn’t stand that anymore. Nobody should have to put up with that. Not if I could do anything about, which I could.
I took a server that was taken out of first line service, but still in pretty good shape, and put together a Terminal Server in about a day or two. I expected this to be a demonstration project and then I would rebuild it and do it “for real.” Well, it ended up going live in about a week, and we have been using TS on multiple servers to run the road warriors, two new remote offices, and folks who need to perform work tasks within their abode ever since.
My goal for remote service has always been 85% of the people able to do 85% of their work remotely. Why not 100%? Because that last 15% /15% segment would be at least twice as expensive as the first 85%/85% segment, if it were possible at all. Some of this is from legacy programs that were never designed to run in either multi-user or via a slow remote connection. Some of this is from massive file transfers that a T1 just won’t handle.
Another reason I did this was that I was being lazy again. I wanted a way where I could check on things – and fix things – at my house so that I did not have to get in the car and drive to work at 2:00 in the morning to fix something simple on a server that stopped a crucial service.
Getting back to the “home” thing: Now that we have a platform that allows working in the house pretty efficiently, we in the IT department take advantage of that. There are two basic ways that occurs.
The first is something is wrong, somebody called us, it’s 2:00 am and we’re going to be doing something pretty darn ugly that nobody likes to do. The other variant is that we plan to do something at 10:00 pm so that effects the fewest number of people. That is “working at home.” At is the bad preposition.
The good preposition is from. If I am “working from home,” it means that I have made it so that I don’t have to go to the office that day on a day that I normally would have. Sometimes this is recovering from a working at home session, sometimes this is a personal scheduling thing, sometimes it is because the task I have to get done can be done better out of the office. This is by no means a day off., but it really is nice when it is possible to do it.
There have been times when I have turned on my computer to check things out before going to work, and I just kept on rolling. By the time I look at the time,it was 4 hours later. No sense driving in then, unless I had a specific appointment.
The big thing for me on those “work from home” days is just not facing that LA traffic. Chances are, I will spend more actual time on the computer and doing real work when I am working from home than when I am in the office.
I do have problems when working inside my home (from or at) that I don’t have when I am in the office.
- The refrigerator is too close at hand.
- “Harry” the cat does not understand the difference between “work time” and “lap time” and thinks my laptop gets all nice, warm and cozy when I use it all day. This is not the worst problem in the world to have, I admit.
- It’s a long walk to the server room if something happens
- I lose track of time at home. I end up working longer.
- I lose separation of home and work. That’s a real yucky one.
These truly are just random thoughts. I have no quip or ending paragraph or statement like I normally do. If I come up with something better to wrap up this post, I’ll edit it later.Tom