Working from Home

At least once a week, I work from home. The group I'm in doesn't have any technical staff at the site I'm at; the rest of my team is a two hour drive away. So home is quieter, and I've found that I'm notably more productive here with one caveat.

My desk is about a floor away from my project manager, and keeping in regular contact with her ensures that I have a productive day. While we don't run into each other more than twice a day when we're in the office, that helps us work out what has been done, what needs to be done, and who we need to remind to get back to us with information we've requested.

Anyways, the biggest productivity gain - the best tool in keeping in touch with my PM - has been Skype and a USB headset. Prior to Skype, I lived in a household with no landline. There's no need; everyone living here has a cellphone, and the landline is simply an additional expense. But in using the cellphone for work calls, the minutes add up pretty quickly anytime there's a conference call I need to dial into. $3 a month - through Paypal - is a pretty minor price to pay for unlimited calls out, and that's a no brainer.

Recently, I added a $35 Plantronics Headset, which has really, really made this easy. The sound quality is better than my cellphone, people I've called have said the microphone is better than the phone at my desk at the office, and it's comfortable to wear for extended periods of time.

Gotta say it's the best $40ish I've spent on anything work-related in awhile. The two upgrades I'd look for, if I were buying something again, would be an on-headset mute button, and wireless, so I could easily refill my coffee without having to step away from the conference.

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