Today marks the two year anniversary of working from home for a small consulting firm, after leaving the Fortune 500 where I started after college and stayed 20+ years.
Of course, I can’t delve too much into specifics here, but it was a good move (for me) that’s worked out. Though to grossly oversimplify, I can say that the big firm tended to chase the big projects which are increasingly being executed overseas, while the little firm is able to get little projects based in the US that are too little to farm out.
Although I have a dedicated room set aside as a home office and keep similar working hours as the old firm, working from my home office felt strange at first. I felt a lot better once that first paycheck came in, then it was more real for sure!
The extra flexibility is definitely a perk. It’s been nice to be able to work for an hour after I get up, then take a 15 minute break to walk my son to school. Priceless.
Though the lack of a commute to an office means I no longer have a bicycle commute 2-3 days a week. It’s hard to explain how that really kept me going mentally, compared to driving to an office 5 days a week. So instead I now ride during a long lunch 2-3 days a week. But because of that, I think I’ve gone soft, as I haven’t bicycled in any weather colder than 55 degrees in the past two years!
I’ve had to travel a bit more in this new position, but not a huge amount more. The projects are smaller and shorter duration than at the big firm, meaning there’s more project kickoff and wrap-up meetings which have to be held somewhere. And unlike at the big firm, these meetings are always at the client’s offices – because I can’t have the clients over in my living room!
The downside of the home office is that it can get a little lonely if you don’t get out. I make more of an effort to meet friends for coffee, lunch, etc.
I remain grateful to have met great people as well as the learning/work experiences at the Fortune 500, while looking forward to a bright future!