Tekelec has had an official “work from home” policy for a while now, but I have never taken advantage of it until now. I had dialed in to kick off builds or to check email, but I never tried working an entire day at home.

I decided that I should try it out, just to see if it would work for me. Depending on what you’re working on, and on the infrastructure at your office, working at home can either be a wonderful productivity tool, or it can be an exercise in frustration.

At my previous job, I could carry my entire development and test environment around on a laptop. I could do my work in isolation, even without a network connection. The only time I needed to connect to our office VPN was when I needed to check my source code into our code library.

The same is not true at Tekelec. We have a carefully set-up development environment in a lab — with source code living on one machine, builds taking place an other machines, and testing taking place on even more machines. In fact, the PC on my desk is only used to access these servers. Similarly, when working from home, my PC does not need any special software installed, since it is only used as a screen. I use a software package called “NX” to remotely log in to the PC in my office.

I think the day worked out OK. Here’s some lessons that I learned:

  • A few days beforehand, I need to block off the day in my calendar (to prevent people from trying to schedule meetings while I planning to be out).
  • The desk in my home office is OK, but I could use a better chair.
  • In the mid-morning, I get a glare from the bedroom window. In the late afternoon, I get a bright sun spot across my monitor from the office window. I might want to turn my desk.
  • My monitor at home is finer pitch than the one at work, so fonts look small.
  • NX is a great tool for remotely logging in to my desktop PC… much better than VNC.
  • At first, I ran into some glitches with NX mapping my keyboard keys incorrectly.
  • My normal lunchtime came and went without me even noticing.
  • The cafeteria at work has a lot more choices than my fridge.
  • The bathrooms are cleaner at work than they are at home. (!!)
  • When I return to the office the next day, I need to remember to bring my books back with me.

All in all, I think it went OK. I think I’ll try to incorporate regular WFH days into my work schedule.