Thursday, February 08, 2007

Working at Home

Lately I've started working at home some of the time, nominally Tues. and Thurs. - so I'm still around the office at the beginning, middle, and end of the week.

As our business has grown my days have grown more and more interrupted and fragmented. I seem to go from talking to one person to helping another, to supervising another. I could close my office door, but that wouldn't stop people from knocking on it or cornering me when I went for coffee or to the bathroom. And I don't really like the idea of closing my door anyway.

I could tell people to get lost, but the truth is I still want to deal with all these things. I'm not ready to step back totally, even if somehow I could. I still want to guide and help people. I just don't want to do it 100% of the time. Or more accurately, I still want to spend some of my time programming.

I want to spend time programming because that's what I enjoy doing. But I think it's probably good for the company as well. There are things that I can work on that will be beneficial, that would never get done otherwise, either because they're things like Suneido C++ internals that no one else works on, or because they're general enhancements that will never be "urgent".

I'm finding my programming time at home surprisingly enjoyable. I guess it shouldn't be surprising - I wouldn't have been programming for 30 years if I didn't enjoy it. But it's been a long time since I was able to focus on it for significant periods of time. On top of the pleasure of coding, it's also nice to feel like I'm getting things done. You don't get that as much when you're managing. In the big picture you're still getting things done, but it's not as personal.

For a lot of people, there would probably be more distractions at home than at work, but I haven't found that. I don't sleep in or watch tv or read a book. I actually want to be programming. And because of that, I'm less likely to be sucked into email or surfing the web. At work, when I know I'm liable to be interrupted any minute, it seems like I might as well kill time, since it's pointless to start anything more serious.

I'm not sure what my staff thinks about it. I wonder if some of them might resent it or feel like I'm "abandoning" them. Hopefully they'll be ok with it. They're certainly capable of operating without me.

An added (intended) benefit is I've been getting on the treadmill first thing in the morning. That way I get my exercise for the day, and I only have to shower once :-) And since I don't have to travel to the office, I still start work at more or less the same time.

Funnily, I've still been going in to the office on the weekends, since it's quiet then.

Here's my new Ikea desk, Mac mini, JBL Spot speakers, and Starbucks coffee mug - all the essentials :-)

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