Alone Time

  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor

    SSC Guru

    Points: 714637

    Comments posted to this topic are about the item Alone Time

  • Wiztech Russ

    SSC Journeyman

    Points: 85

    I too enjoy my alone time, but it is broken up into periods during the day.

    I am working from home in Sydney Australia, dealing with people in Brisbane - same time zone but no daylight savings, Perth 2 hours behind, Pakistan 6 hours behind, Tanzania 7 hours behind, Senegal 10 hours behind, Santiago Chile 14 hours behind and Toronto Canada 16 hours behind. I have half a dozen little clocks on my screen so i know what time it is, but you get do get used to it and it is only frustrating occassionally when you need a quick answer. Although scheduling conference calls can be a bit of a nightmare.

  • Matthew Joughin

    SSC Enthusiast

    Points: 123

    I work in Cape Town for a company which all the other development happens in Joburg.

    While it was a mission at first to get everything I needed at home (decent internet, printer, scanner, desk, chair, etc),

    it definitely works better for me.

    I am an easily distracted person and work best when left alone without any physical interruptions.

    For 5 years I was in the Joburg office and I feel I have got more done in 1 year working remotely than 2 years working in the office.

    Hopefully I can keep this arrangement going, because it suits me the best.

    Perhaps I'm just a loner 😉

    if you don't have the time to do it right, when will you have the time to do it over ?

  • Andy Warren

    SSC Guru

    Points: 119655

    Different types of alone. I've been lucky enough that for most of my IT career I've worked in an office by myself. When I needed a break or just socialize it was all right outside the door, but I definitely like not having immediate distractions. I share an office now and mostly that works fine, but the weeks when we have an external instructor here with a class feels a little overwhelming - noise, interruptions, etc.

    Working totally alone (as Steve mainly does) is challenging and I definitely struggled with it. I deliberately scheduled social time into my day - mainly lunches - just to get out of the office and feel connected to the world. It's not just the social part, it's nice to have someone around to bounce ideas off of.

    I think most people under estimate the stress that task switching adds, and how much it distracts from work. Working alone doesn't eliminate that (you can easily find other bad habits to make up for being alone...IM, twitter, etc, etc) but can reduce it a lot.

  • MarkK-959639

    SSC Journeyman

    Points: 77

    Working in different time zones presents many more benefits and challenges depending on the nature of the job and the relative time zones. In a support role time zones can be very handy for customer support. One support analyst takes an issue and defines it, then hands it to an analyst in another time zone if additional work needs to be done. Instead of a few hours made available to a client and their problem, you have now made several more non-overtime hours available.

    For people so inclined, timezones allow 2nd jobs with part-time work during "normal" work hours at the second job. Living on the east coast, there is no reason why I couldn't work a west coast for 3 hours or more and still be available during normal business hours to the west coast employer.

    The major hinderance to working in a distributed/work-at-home environment has been communications. Now, with technology advancements make that problem become less of a concern (you can pretty much "reach out and touch somebody" whenever you want or need and even see who you are talking to), this environment is becoming much more attractive to employers.

    Mark

  • BJ Hermsen

    Hall of Fame

    Points: 3123

    This is the exact reason that I requested to have my schedule changed from 8-5 to 7-4. It gives me that hour to get stuff done before others get to the office. Now if only i could get it to be 6-2:30 🙂

  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor

    SSC Guru

    Points: 714637

    Robert, I'm sure they wouldn't mind you showing up a bit early every day 😀

    And maybe you could schedule a "meeting" from 2:30-5 every day. Call it a self-reflection meeting for the ride home!

  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor

    SSC Guru

    Points: 714637

    It's definitely easy to get distracted when you're alone by other things. I have lots of people say they tend to go do home chores when working at home, and I understand that a little, but I tend to neglect them. Work is a good excuse not to do them.

    The Twitter thing is interesting. I've been trying the Twitterlicious client, and there are 5-6 people that I follow that post quite a bit, like SQLBatman, and it's almost like a hallway conversation. I can pop it up and see what they're doing, drop in a comment, similar to what it's like in an office.

    Working upstairs for me, in bed, on the laptop, I typically don't have anything running, including email, which provides a good environment for getting concentrated work done.

    My wife prefers the barn. Between her new Air Card and our new 8011.1n router, she can disappear out there. Good thing it's winter! :hehe:

  • bob.willsie

    Right there with Babe

    Points: 791

    At my last company the phone system had the habit of dying intermittently. I noticed everyone in my department seemed to get a lot more done on days it had died.

    I implemented a policy of "no phones" at least 1 hour per day for each person in the department. That means no incoming, and no outgoing. During these times, if someone called, the individual was "in a meeting" and a message was taken unless it was a critical family emergency.

    It is amazing how much more you can get done when you know you won't be interrupted.

    I have also found an 11:30 lunch has served me well. I can get into someplace, eat, and get back out before the noon crowd hits. The other 1/2 hour I spend sleeping and/or listening to music. Usually in my car, but sometimes in my office depending on weather. Personally, my brain works a whole lot better in the afternoon this way.

  • SqlOnMyMind

    SSCarpal Tunnel

    Points: 4914

    When I was doing contract work, I worked from home (Denver) with people in London. I'm an early morning person, so I would start work at 6:00 am, and I had plenty of time to communicate with people in London before they closed for the day.

    I loved working at home - no distractions. I could stay focused for 8 straight hours, and I did not need social time.

    Now I work in an office that has been broken into 5 cubicles. I really dislike having to hear other people's personal phone calls! I use headphones when I have to, but I prefer to work in silence over background sound of any sort.

    I think working from home and working with people in different time zones are really two separate situations. I wish I could work from home now - just one day a week! The team I am in has proposed this multiple times, and we have been denied and warned not to bring it up again.

  • bob.willsie

    Right there with Babe

    Points: 791

    The biggest problem I had was getting my family to understand that even though I was at home I had to work.

    Different wife and older kids helped resolve that.

    Now I love working from home. Especially on mild rainy days when I can open the patio door, close the screen, and listen to the rain. My productivity goes up about 500%.

  • MarkK-959639

    SSC Journeyman

    Points: 77

    You are right working from home is a separate issue from working in different time zones. The only connection is that if you have a dispersed work force, you are more likely to have to deal with time zone issues.

    An interesting question is how to manage a multiple timezone and work-at-home work group. If the manager's style is to micro-manage then they will have a great deal of frustration in keeping track of everybody. If the manager's style is results oriented/laissez-faire, it works very well.

    Mark

  • BJ Hermsen

    Hall of Fame

    Points: 3123

    Speaking of impacts on productivity... I am unsubscribing to this thread and just checking it later today 😉

    It seems to be a good excuse this morning to stop what i am doing.

    I especially like the upgrading to wife and family 2.0

  • Wayne West

    SSC-Insane

    Points: 22586

    My first real database development job (dBase III+) I worked in the office 11-7, took lunch around 3pm. It was really great, no rush hour traffic, even in winter with Xmas shopping. The two hours a day with no interruptions and silence was absolutely wonderful!

    Then came the day that they wanted to turn me back into a word processing clerk and I walked.

    -----
    [font="Arial"]Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves or we know where we can find information upon it. --Samuel Johnson[/font]

  • notquitexena

    SSCrazy

    Points: 2644

    At one of my former jobs in southern California we had a situation where a top-notch software engineer wanted to quit and return to his home in Australia. The powers that be talked him into being a part-time, well-paid consultant, and it really worked well. We would explain the problem we were having and email him the code by the afternoon of our work day, and usually by the time we returned the next morning the answer would be sitting in our mailbox.

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