Home work: Advice for the office-less employee

We have been snowed in for three days.

At first it was fun. School got out early so the farm kids could get home before the roads were unpassable. ("Unpassable" gets flagged by spellcheck as a non-word, and my editor hates that; but I swear that’s what they call snowed-in roads in the country.)

The blizzard was fun. I tucked in my goats and then my kids; and then my friend,who is from Texas, needed extra layers and long underwear to sleep. I told myself it was okay that I was getting no work done. Some days are like that. All days cannot be equally productive. And anyway, I'm an ENTJ, so I'm happy as long as I'm taking charge of something— starting a company, running a family— so as long as people follow my goal, I'm just fine.

When we woke up, the blistering wind made the house feel cozy warm. I showed the kids how to build obstacle courses through their bedroom and we invented recipes for cookies that sometimes came out right.

We baked and baked until we ran out of the sprinkles.

Then I started sneaking glances through my in-box between movies that I warned the kids were too gruesome to watch. But that was before it was a snow day.

The farmer does not take snow days well. He is an ISTP, which means he's great with a snow plow and most other machinery, and he almost never calls for help. So I knew the snow drifts were
really high when the farmer had to wait for some other guy who has a bigger plow to come clear the snow. Another thing about an ISTP: they crave action-oriented tasks. So the farmer spent a lot of time outside, walking through the cold, longing for the more regular rhythms of the farm.

The next day there was no snow falling, but the snow piles were six feet high. My friend is an INTJ. She needs to build systems to improve stuff, but it's hard to be organized with stir-crazy boys, freezing animals, and a too-soon depleted pantry. But, proving that all personality types find their true-to-self way of working from home, my friend spent the day calling airlines, switching tickets, telling agents that a snowstorm is a reason for a refund. And when she finished with her own tickets, she started rearranging for her friends.

Finally, the snowplow guy arrived and transformed the barren landscape to a winter playground. And while you'd expect me to take my kids outside with me, I can't think unless I have alone time. It's my favorite part of working from home, in fact. That I can be alone whenever I want. Except on a snow day.

One of the most important requirements for a successful home office is staying stimulated— making sure we experience new things all the time. So I slipped outside without a word to the kids, and tested the terrain.
Penelope Trunk has started several companies and worked for many more. She penned this column several years ago, but she's busy with new things–- too busy to write new things. But this one's a freshie!

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