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There's much ado made about working from home, so when earlier this week I read an article in Entrepreneur about "homing from work" my interest was piqued. The article discussed a study on employees taking breaks during the work day to perform personal errands, and found that most -- that is 93% -- "of busy professionals take care of personal or family needs during the day by Homing From Work."
As someone that
lived worked at BigLaw, I know that if you want to get anything done in your personal life, you have no other option than to home from work. Here's a breakdown of what exactly falls under "homing from work" and how to balance your home needs with your work responsibilities.
Homing From Work
Homing from work essentially means taking care of private affairs while you are at work. For some people that means planning travel online and checking personal email, for others that means getting out of the office for a bit of retail therapy in the afternoon. And then of course there are the doctor's appointments, banking, and post office errands we all need to handle during the day -- because that's the only time we can.
Anyone working at BigLaw knows that you have a billable hours quota. Yeah, some "lifestyle" firms will tell you they're not counting. They are lying. While the study emphasizes that workplace results and efficiency matter more than "face time" at the office, this doesn't carry over so well in a BigLaw setting. So, how do you strike a balance between taking care of personal errands and meeting billing quotas?
Finding a Balance
The best way to strike a balance is to take care of personal errands during the day (um, you can't make a doctor's appointment at 10:00 p.m. -- there's simply no way around that). However, you need to be very careful to still meet your billing requirements for that day.
Schedule your personal errands around your work deadlines. You may end up working later because you took an hour or so during the day to work on personal stuff, but you'll feel less stressed because you actually were able to do something for yourself.
Just one cautionary note -- if you are staying after hours because you took personal time during the day, you may want to skip billing the client for dinner and car service home if you are at the office late because you took a 2 hour personal break mid-day.
There is hope, dear associate. You will be able to make it to the dentist for that cleaning. You just have to be smart about doling out your time.