Telecommute or short days


 A few years ago, this word conjured up images of yuppy business-types who carried around briefcases and computers, checking them through airport security before the days of shoe-removal, dressed in black, toting a large cell phone and yacking on it not as often as they do today.

 Today, telecommuting is much more prevalent. Gone are the days when someone wanted to move out of state, and a company would lose a good employee as a result. No more, now they can telecommute, keep their job, keep their benefits, and the company gets to keep the good employee. 

Can you make your job portable? Would you be able to telecommute? All the time, or even just part of the time?

 I was lucky enough to answer yes (with a few adjustments) to these questions. I started by working at home in addition to working at the office. That was in the 12-hour-day days. Eight hours at the office, working at home in the morning, and working at home again until almost midnight every night.

 Once fibromyalgia hit hard, I had to curtail those hours substantially. I started by doing some things at home in the early morning, after exercising. Then, I'd "get up" and get ready for work, and go to the office for 7 hours or so. Then, I'd do the last bit of "clean up" in the evening before bed. But that alteration was still not enough, and I was completely wiped out and exhausted.

 I thought, for a long time, that I had classic "job burnout". I know now that the "burnt out" feeling I was experiencing was fibro-fatigue. It would come out of nowhere and slam me down. There were afternoons when I would try to go home to take a lunch break or walk the dogs, and I'd end up just sitting somewhere completely exhausted or would even fall asleep. In the middle of the afternoon!

 I started modifying the schedule even more. I'd do a few things at home in the morning, read email mostly. Then I'd relax, do chores, whatever I could manage. Then, I'd take a shower and get ready for work. Usually I'd have to rest on the couch for a while before driving to work. I'd work three or four hours, and then go home to rest some more. Then, I would stay home for the remainder of my shift (remember I work a "modified second shift" schedule), or until I was done if I was lucky enough to finish early.

 After a few years of doing that, I eventually was able to stretch the amount of time I spent in the office. The early-morning work at home is a fixture -- and consists only of reading and processing email, responding if necessary, but usually just reviewing. Once I'm done doing that, I may stay at the computer and do my personal writing. At 11:00 a.m., I stop doing "whatever" and take my shower. I go to work for 12 noon.

 I now stay at the office for about 5 or 6 hours, usually 6, until 6:00 pm. I go home, walk and play with my dogs for an hour, and then work from 7 pm until 8 or 9 depending on my workload. I'll go to bed between 10:30 and 11:00.

 This schedule works for me, and I've been able to continue with it for some time now, especially since I'm on medication which helps with my sleep at night.

 It's very important to keep as strict as schedule as possible (at least for me). If I deviate more than an hour on any one item, it can throw me into a flare or give me other kinds of problems. So, I really try to be regimented and disciplined as I can be.

 There are days when I'm "off", either because of pain or more often, fatigue or fibro-fog. On those days, I'll go to work late, or come home earlier than usual.

 If you can arrange to telecommute or work a flexibile schedule, or telecommute part-time, it may be a big help to you.

 Sometimes, it's not the work that gets to us, it's the obligation of having to look presentable, take a shower, "look pretty", then drive to work that just seems like too much on some days.

 Just think, if your boss agrees to let you telecommute sometimes, you could do your work in your pajamas!