One of the worst parts of my little part of the office is the fact that I stare at a wall every day. I've done what I can to make it a more cheerful place, like hanging a new picture of some where I want to go each week. I'm still surrounded by my co-workers and at anytime I can pop my head out for a quick bit of conversation. Even if I don't feel like talking, I can at least stand up, stretch my legs out, an d look at something else besides whatever skyline I've chosen for the wall that week.
Telecommuters don't have it as easy, their monotony often is in the same place as their home is, and while it can be a great thing to spend more with families, I can't help but think that sometimes, telecommuters have to miss the camaraderie of the office lifestyle. It seems like working in the office to working from home would change the location, but not the problem: which is the same thing every day.
I read a really cool post by Scott Hansleman that discussed an experiment he had undertaken to create a so-called virtual cubicle. It's an interesting study in how comfortable it can feel to have someone close to you when you're working. Sure, your kids are great, and not having to spend money on gas can feel like a blessing, but sometimes you have to be craving that grown up interaction and the office experience.
Here's what you do. Grab a partner, a web cam, and your favorite conference service and boom—instant office neighbor. Set up the camera to make it feel like someone is right over the top of the cubicle wall, Scott suggests being careful to make sure that you're not feeling like your space is being invaded. You wouldn't want to have that camera right in your face all day long and since you're trying to create the “office” atmosphere, you should try to make it as close to that kind of set up as possible.
What do you think telecommuters? Do you miss the feeling off the office surrounding you or do you find yourself working better where you have the freedom to hit up the Wii with the little ones when you step away for lunch? Is this something you would consider giving a try?