Letters from the Home Office Vol. 6
Don’t Get Around Much Anymore
Maybe it’s a coincidence, but around the same time I started working from home, I also found myself doing less business travel. Some of this is due to expense issues, but I think part of it is due to the fact that once you get used to working in yoga pants (not me) or the same old gray sweat shirt and pants every day (me), your motivation to take your show on the road drops like a rock.
This week I had to fly to a day and a half long meeting. As is usually the case, we were encouraged to fly down the morning of the first half-day of meetings and fly home after the end of the next day. For me this was a pretty big deal because it meant I had to first, find a something to put clothes and toiletries in, second, I had to find clothes and toiletries, and third, I had to leave my house on a weekday. Because my frequent flyer status lapsed (Let’s face it, unless you fly 100 times a year, those plans are Ponzi schemes anyway) I had to pack carefully so I could fit the bag in the overhead compartment. Why do I worry about this? I see clowns jamming appliance boxes and steamer trunks into those poor little shelves. These are the same people who go to the Express lane in the supermarket with four hundred cans of cat food and thirty expired coupons, but it’s okay because they pay in exact change, all dimes.
Anyway, my early morning flight had me getting up at 4:00 in the morning on Monday. Airlines were created by the Egyptian god of frustration and thus I just so happened to get home exactly 48 hours later. Evidently the plane, the pilot and the flight attendance for the last leg of my flight home were all coming from different cities where weather, equipment, and policies against flying on consecutive Wednesdays conspired to create a three hour delay.
If I normally went to an office to work, nobody would have had an issue if I slept in and arrived a few hours late. But evidently, working from home gives you amazing recuperative powers because these same people thought I should have been able to put on my magic sweat suit and be eagerly at my post by 7:00 am.
So, a couple of tips for the at home worker who is also an occasional traveler. Be sure to provide a margin of error in your travel arrangements, remember airline schedules are built by people who only take trains. If you are up late because of delays or logistics, send out lots of emails to keep your colleagues busy the next morning, and also send one out indicating you are still out of the office due to business travel until you expect to be back. This sets a reasonable expectation for responsiveness. Only use the Wifi on the plane during business hours if possible. For one, you don’t wanted to fry your brain, and number two, those in-flight magazines are darned entertaining.