IThough the weather looked fine earlier this morning, after reading the forecast I decided to stay home. Now, as I look out my home office window and see the trees swaying and snowflakes swirling in the air, I’m congratulating myself for heeding the winter storm warning. With my cell phone, computer and satellite Internet access, I can get my work done and don’t have to worry about driving in poor visibility on bad roads.
I’m far from being a "techie," but I have to say I do appreciate modern technology. I’ve been thinking today about how grateful I am for the great strides made during the past decade and half. The Internet, e-mail and cell phones have made working at home a breeze.
Back in the mid-90s when I was working at home for a farm publication based in Bismarck, I had to FAX them my stories, then someone at the magazine had to scan them in. Meanwhile, I had to mail them the film of the photos I sent and, depending on the Postal Service, it could be several days before they arrived at their destination. Now, I write the story, paste it into an e-mail and it’s there in seconds. If I need to send a photo with it, I can attach a j-peg to the file.
Cell phones are another definite plus when it comes to working at home. Before, I had to have another phone number for work. The kicker was that only the number itself and the ring were different than my home phone. Because it would have cost thousands of dollars to install a second phone line in my home, my work phone and home phone were on the same line. The advantage to the set-up was that, because the rings were different, I knew whether I should answer the phone as a work call or a home call. Now, I can just use my cell phone for work ,which is especially great when it comes to making long distances calls. Instead of having to keep track of the calls and fill out expense reports, I can take advantage of the hundreds of unused minutes on my cell phone plan.
Another advantage to working at home is that there are few interruptions. It’s just me, the three dogs and the two cats. so conversations are one-sided and kept short — "Rosebud, quit barking. Minnie, get back in the kitchen. Maggie, off the counter." I know I would miss the hustle, bustle and chatter of the office if I worked at home regularly, but it’s sure a great option on days like this.