The Houston Office…of One.

Downtown Houston When the 2011 “Snowpocalypse” landed in St. Louis a couple of weeks ago, many of my teammates set up shop in their homes to keep things rolling.  I too was working from my home office, but not because of any record-breaking blizzard.  In October of last year, my husband was asked to relocate to Houston for a new and exciting opportunity with his company.  I was thrilled and completely bummed at the same time.  Just the thought of leaving my co-workers and the job that I loved was beyond disappointing.  Lucky for me, my manager and other members of leadership decided to take a shot on me and truly “go ROWE“.

The whole working remotely thing was a new concept for the company and for me.  I guess you could call it an “experiment”. My goal from the beginning was to keep my productivity up, stay connected with my co-workers, and prove that there was truth to the philosophy we’d all read about in the best-selling book Rework – by the founder of 37 Signals – Jason Fried .  Fried would claim that “geography doesn’t matter anymore” and that many people, when asked where they get their best work done, would answer at home.  About 4 months into this experiment, I would have to say that I agree.  My days now feel like those mornings where you go into the office super early to beat the crowd and just get some uninterrupted work done…except it lasts all day!  I have fewer distractions and more time to dig into the tasks at hand.  Of course, there are plenty of challenges too.  So how about I break out the old pros and cons list?


  • Goodbye commute: My 90 minute round trip has now been cut down to 10 steps each way. Not too shabby!
  • Increased productivity: While I miss the chats with co-workers and the company events, it’s easier to stay on track in a remote situation.
  • Decreased costs: Office costs go down and so do my fuel costs.  Double bonus!


  • Less team interaction: Face-to-face interaction is something that can’t be replaced by phone calls or instant messages.  Luckily, we’re using Skype Business more and more to bridge the gap.
  • Lack of good food (aka: April’s breakfast): Believe me, this is a big deal.

I’m sure there are many of you out there who have worked from home much longer than me, but for those considering the move, or for managers considering hiring a remote employee, these are my tips for making the most of it…

  • Get up and get ready every day. I learned this at the age of 5 when my parents started their own business out of our house.  I remember thinking how strange it was to see my dad put on a suit and tie to go work in our basement.  Now I understand that it’s just one of those things that helps you to feel professional and ready to work.
  • Take breaks. I’ve designated lunch as “get-out-of-this-house-o’clock”.  Whether it’s making a quick run to the grocery store, taking the dog on a walk, or going to the library to pick out a new book…it feels good to get fresh air and it helps keep me sane!
  • Stay in touch. It’s easy to feel out of the loop, so it takes an extra effort to check in with co-workers.

Well folks, that’s all I’ve got for you for now.  From sunny Houston, my co-worker “SharePoint Hazel” and I are signing off…

Vanessa's co-worker

2011-02-16T13:07:12+00:00 February 16th, 2011|

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