It's starting to freak me out a little bit. I used to be so adamant about needing the separation between "work" and "home" and using the drive home to try to purge my mind of all professional noise. This has totally changed recently. Now closing the computer armoire signals the end of the work day. What changed?

Back in January, we were moved over to report into SMSG (Sales, Marketing and Solutions Group); basically  staffing for sales, consulting and field marketing. There was a reason for this move, but it's not really interesting blog conversation. It has to do with being aligned with our pipe leader on the business side (see? Told ya). Anyway, the SMSG Staffing Team mostly sits in the field (I'm not sure how many of us there are...80-100 maybe). People work out of field offices and from home a lot too. Our Director is in North Carolina, our Senior Director is in Minnesota. Two new folks joining our team (one contractor, one full-time); neither of them are based here in Redmond. Basically, over the course of the last couple of months, our team went virtual (with the exception of our Staffing Associate contractor Sarah, who treks into the office daily).

So during this time, I decided to get my home office set up. Not "sitting-on-the-couch-with-the-laptop-on-my-legs" set up but really set up. So this weekend, I went out and bought one of those big mother surge protectors and spent part of an afternoon snaking all the wires from my various phones, computer, printer, cable model, etc., through the little holes on the back of my armoir. I even almost bought a "desk chair" but when the model I liked wasn't in stock, I took it as a sign that I shouldn't have anything that ugly in my cute little home office (hey, sorry, I care about that kind of stuff...my house isn't exactly spacious).

Working from home like this is a big change for me. I've found that there are specific benefits that I enjoy:

-instead of getting ready for work while wondering what awaits me in my inbox, I can jump online right away and check it out and then pursue my morning routine later (shower? yes, make-up? no)

-I have time to make and enjoy a pot of coffee (Peet's Mocha java...mmmmm...I'm having it delivered to my house now) instead of grabbing some on my way to work (which is more expensive and not as good). I love it so much I should learn how to spell it (edited)

-Jonas likes it when mom's home (at least this is what I am telling myself)

-I get so focused on work without distractions that I get more done per hour at home than at work (for some reason, hallway conversations are really distracting for me). Time flies when I am working from home. I probably work later from home too, but at a certain point in the evening (about 7PM), I turn the TV on to find out what's going on in the world.

-I can make my own food. Probably not a big deal for most people but I try to eat healthy and that is easier done at home (packing lunch is just another time suck). I'm back on South Beach phase one as of today (for no reason other than finishing what I started before summer arrives) so it's almost time to whip up some scrambled eggs (yummy for now but ask me how I feel in a week). Punxatawney Phil says I have lots of time before summer but he thinks I should head to the Pro Club. I agree. Hey, that groundhog is a little task-master.

-Answering e-mail in sweats, no make-up, ponytail (please don't try to visualize, OK?).  It's a comfort thing. This won't last long today. My friends John and Bret are bringing their new baby girl into the office today so I need to head in eventually. Plus, I just generally need to see other people sometimes (but probably not as frequently as other people).

I think the fact that I have a separate room designated as "the office"really helps me and I moved my craft table into another bedroom so this room is all about work...yes, I have a craft table but before you start to imagine something crazy, I just make jewelry. There's no decoupage involved, no papier mache, no yarn or macaroni.  

I'm really starting to get into this working from  home thing. Though I suspect that my neighbors are wondering what is going on when they see me flip-flop out to the mailbox in the afternoon: "when does she work?"

In case anyone is going to ask, the work-from-home thing is pretty common at Microsoft and the ability to make it work for you depends on your job and your schedule. If you have a lot of meetings, it's tough to do (I go into the office on days with meetings). Or if you have a bunch of direct reports. Also, I think it depends on what kind of distractions you have at home. If I had kids, I'd have a hard time making this work (some people can though). Also, I resist the urge to log on over the weekends.

For now, I am pretty into it.