Washington and Lee University School of Law

Washington and Lee University School of Law

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Work from Home Week 2009

Marti McCaleb, a rising 3L from Waco, Texas, is interning at Legal Voice in Seattle, Washington.

Even in the land where Microsoft dominates the local economy, computer catastrophes can and will happen. I’m back in the office today, for the first time in over a week. To celebrate Independence Day, our server decided to make its own sort of fireworks display. Microsoft’s primary campus may be just 20 minutes away from downtown Seattle, but it took the better part of a week to get the new server online. In the meantime, we found the opportunity to celebrate “Work from Home Week 2009.” I quickly learned that I’m not the type to successfully manage flex-scheduling. To me “work from home” means things like laundry, dishes, and carpet-steaming. So, I opted for a “Work from Starbucks” model instead. There’s one on every other corner, so you can always go for a change in scenery, it’s relatively quiet, and the people-watching is second-to-none when you need a mental break. And of course, there’s a copious amount of caffeine available. 
In some offices, a down server would be a minor inconvenience, taking things off-line for a few hours. For a ten-person non-profit, it can be devastating. It’s taken a lot of creativity and flexibility to keep the office running when the office has been completely shut down. Without access to the server files, time-sensitive projects had to be completely recreated. I still can’t decide if it was a good week or not. In some ways the break in routine and the increased pressure helped make me super productive. At the same time, when there isn’t really a clear distinction between professional and personal time, it’s easy to feel like you should always be doing more. Ideas about work-from-home plans and flex scheduling get brought up a lot in discussions about work-life balance. It may be a great solution for some people, but I’ve definitely learned that my work-life balance is best when work is work and home is home.


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