I have a love/hate relationship with remote access to work. I love it on days like today: I had a lot of work to do, but was also down to yoga pants as the only clean clothes in my house, and it being the weekend, I wanted to see my family. If it were 10 years ago, I’d be stuck having to haul in to the office for the better part of the day (with laundry left undone, and a lonely kid). Now, thanks to good VPN access, I can throw a load of laundry in the washer, open up my laptop, and get work done as the little one dances around to the Wiggles. And working on the weekend is much more pleasant if you can work in your jammies.
I don’t often work from home. One main reason is because I have to be on the phone a lot, and we have 2 parrots at home. Try to explain parrot noises on a client call. It’s not pretty. Also, I do love the structure and professionalism of an office environment. In a pinch, though, the access is priceless.
Remote access is also perfect for when I need to think creatively and intensely. Appellate briefs in particular require uninterrupted focus. My office is not a place for uninterrupted focus. There are always people calling and stopping by. I love that with remote access I can park myself in a quiet, vacant corner of the library and get my thoughts together.
The downside of remote access is that it means you can work everywhere, anywhere, all the time. Sick days become work from home days. It’s virtually impossible to have a true day away. The answer is setting personal boundaries, but that is often not a practical answer in the legal field. Courts and clients have deadlines and needs, regardless of whether you’ve got the flu. It’s nice to not have to scramble for a Plan B, but it would also be nice to actually not have to worry about working when you’re feeling under the weather.
On the whole, remote access is a blessing for my family. My husband and I both work hours-intense jobs, and our ability to get the household to run and also to spend time with our daughter (admittedly sometimes multitasking, but time while on the laptop is better than no time at all), is only possible because we are able to, when the need arises, work from the couch.
Does remote access give you freedom, or keep you tethered to your work?