Monday, 8 July 2013

Office In A Bag

This working from home lark once or twice a week is going swimmingly.  On the days when Lovelygrey Cottage becomes my NHS base I save at least fifty minutes of travel time and, by my reckoning, about four quid in fuel.  That's not too be sniffed at in these days where frugality has become a necessity rather than a mere lifestyle choice.  And my employer gets a good deal too.  I'm more productive away from the distractions of the office environment and can really focus on what I'm doing. Furthermore I expect this to give me more time for patient contacts on the days I'm not at home.

There's rather a lot of scope  for this type of arrangement to go totally tits up, as they say in polite parlance.  It wouldn't take much of a  lapse in discipline for things that need doing around the house to get in the way of what I'm actually being paid to do.  Conversely it would be ever so easy for work to seep into my own personal time.  And we certainly don't want that either.  After all this measure is meant to improve my work-life balance and not totally balls it up.  That's why the tools of my trade are firmly tucked back in the big black bag when I'm done and dusted for the day.

I'll 'fess up now and say that during the days I'm working from home I'm not necessarily sitting at my computer from 9 to 5 as I would be at work on a  paperwork day.  I like to start earlier and get my seven and a half hours out of the way.  Horror of horrors, there's  even scope to carry on into the evening as I did last Wednesday when it was Louis' sport day.  I didn't like that arrangement much at all but needs must and it was great to have that flexibility.  Either way I make sure that I'm in email and phone contact between standard office hours and am ready to head back to the office or to visit a patient if that's needed.

What's in the bag?.  Well,  not much aside a laptop with all the templates for assessments and suchlike stored there. Patient data is  kept elsewhere and accessed securely by following a number of steps.  Of course, I'd have to shoot you if you found out what these were.  Other than that there's not much else, minimal paperwork, copies of assessments in case I'm called out on a job and a dictaphone.  Gone are the days when we lugged around copious amounts of paper based notes with all the confidentiality issues entailed.   Could this way of working be the singular way forward for community based NHS staff?  I hope not as contact with colleagues on a regular basis is so valuable in terms of learning and support.  The flexibility of a mix of home and office based working really does seem like the best of both worlds.

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