In this item, contributor Ian Hunter reflects on a 20 year career working at home.
This June marks the 20th Anniversary of my working full time from home and now, on my fourth home since starting, it’s been quite a journey.
I was still getting a quite a lot of post (remember that) back in 2000 but essentially this was about the time that email began its dominance of business communications although I still posted all my invoices out each month for a few years more.
A lot of comms kit has come and gone during that time too. On day one I had a Network Alchemy system that handled an ISDN2 line and provided up to six extensions. It gave me voicemail, call forwarding and CTI screen popping and for a homeworker I was the bees knees.
For some reason I just can’t recall I ended up a few years later with a Siemens PBX which was way over the top for what I needed. Actually, I just remembered, it was the in-built call recording that did it.
Fast forwarding to today I just use an Apple iPhone and an Apple iMac for everything. Anything else I need is just a click of an app download away.
Working from home took a bit of an adjustment at first with four schoolkids and all their comings and goings but being able to do the school runs was one of the reasons I took the plunge as I couldn’t fathom any other route to seeing them grow up. Little did I know that the school run was just one in a series of the daily taxi runs that came as part of the deal.
What working at home provided was real flexibility. Ever the one to be up with the larks I found my most productive parts of the day were often between 0600 and 0900 but the real ‘killer application’ was the banishment of the daily commute into history. Even today, with the kids all grown up and disappeared into their own lives, I find myself laughing out loud when I hear of all the morning traffic problems on the breakfast news. Snow? Huh!
Then there is all the home servicing and deliveries. Today I find myself an unofficial Post Office way-station for all my neighbours Internet shopping deliveries and never miss being in for a plumber’s appointment.
And finally, I remember what one of my friends, also a home worker, said to me twenty years ago.
He said, working from home means you never ever have to get your hair cut on a Saturday again.
He was right.
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