I could become a fan of telecommuting.
Jon and I did a split-parenting thing yesterday. He offered to drop Otto at day care, but upon arrival found out that they had no power. Ergo, no day care. So the boys trooped back home, where Otto watched morning TV and played with his trains while Jon worked.
I spent a frenzied hour or so at the library checking in with staff, shuffling through my desk, organizing things to take home, making copies of reports I needed to finish a project, updating voice mail, checking email -- whew. Now that I think about it, I got a lot done. And then I took myself back to the homestead, where the boy was drowsily digesting lunch and watching the cartoon extras on his Cars DVD. Jon and I did the ships-passing routine, I changed into stay-at-home clothes, and Otto went down for a nap.
And then something magical happened... Otto slept for 3 hours, the darling, during which time I finished all but 10% of a report due tomorrow, did some intensive Google chat with staff, checked and forwarded email to keep everyone updated on the status of our (finally working again) circ system, and made/took a couple of calls. He woke up, I finished up, and we went to have keys cut and get some groceries. I checked in again with staff by phone during the evening on a networking thing, and felt like I'd accomplished something good for the day.
I think that hour of picking/prioritizing projects and deciding what I would do the rest of the day kept me focused. I wasn't distracted by invoices needing to be coded, or the catalogs and new professional journals wanting attention. Calls went straight to voice mail. I left my to-do lists on my desk, taking home the essential to-dos only. As a result I felt extra-productive, and got more done with fewer interruptions than usual.
I certainly couldn't (wouldn't want to) do it every day. But in people-oriented professions, is there value to having regularly scheduled days where you're working off-site and out of easy shouting range? Where you focus on getting admin/maintenance tasks done while still being available to staff? If libraries need to do better reaching beyond their bricks-and-mortar buildings to help people who never come through the door, does it make sense to have staff less tied to the reference desk? I'm not sure, but I'm thinking about it.