In the beginning of my career as an attorney work meant billing as many hours as possible to make a positive impression on the law firm's partners in hopes of making partner yourself one day. You didn't dare work anywhere but your desk because it was important to be seen which meant spending long hours in the office, even if all of those hours were not spent actually working.
After I left the law firm life and entered the corporate world I hoped things would be different. While there was no need to bill hours and there was not necessarily a need for long hours, I kept coming across the same artificial requirement that work had to be done in the office. I even had one manager who would be upset if his direct reports were late getting to their desks at 8:00 a.m., even by as little as by 5 minutes, despite the fact that we were all full-time, salaried attorneys, and were not covering any sort of work shift. I don't know if it stemmed from a lack of trust that the work was going to get done or some other need for control, but I did know that I did not go through all of that time in school to be deprived of my freedom to choose how I wanted to spend my time.
As a full-time working mother with three school aged children, and a very rambunctious pre-schooler, both my husband and I have very busy schedules running kids to and from day care, sports activities, religious school, doctors appointments, and playdates. This doesn't even take into account school conferences, classroom parties, choir concerts and plays, or all of the other miscellaneous activities the kids are involved in that we do not want to miss out on. We often found ourselves juggling who would be where, and attend what, for which kid (I think we may have only forgotten a kid somewhere once or twice, it happens)!!
I took my first work-from-home job opportunity three years ago and it changed my life.
1. No More Commuting. I no longer had to waste up to 8 hours of my week just sitting in my car commuting to and from work. Now don't get me wrong, I do like some alone time, but living in Minnesota, I have better places for that time of solitude than on the icy roads of Minneapolis. Now I get to spend them snuggled up in my bed for an extra half hour until the kids get off to school.
2. No More After-School Care. Speaking of getting the kids off to school, every morning I get to see my kids get off to school and I am there when they get home. I was able to unenroll them from after-school care and have them come straight home after school. I can also make sure they get their homework done right away after school instead of waiting until the last minute. Not only did this save me money, but I was able to spend more time with them.
3. Flexibility With Time. Being at home allowed me the flexibility to attend school events scheduled during the day. It also allowed me to schedule appointments or run errands during the day at times that were less busy. I began to feel like my time really belonged to me.
I ended up becoming much more efficient and productive with my working time and because I felt more in control of my time and schedule, I ultimately felt like I had taken back control of my life. For that, I attribute much gratitude and appreciation towards organizations that foster the work from home environment, which is why I wish to also foster expanding and growing this work model.