Monthly Archives: December 2009

Working from Home

I miss going into the office every morning.  I can’t believe I’m saying this after  complaining about waking up when it was cold, navigating the DC Metro crowds, and doing the same routine each and every day.  But I miss it.  Working from home is quite a different scenario with its positives and negatives. Granted my own experience so far is a little skewed since I work only part-time for my internship and part/full time for school, but I wonder if other people who have changed from working in an office to working from home have had similar experiences.

Positives

+ I get to watch both episodes of Saved by the Bell from 8-9 am if I want to, instead of leaving during episode 1.

+ I can work when I want to. The typical 9-5 doesn’t apply anymore.

+ I can do work anywhere.  Home, coffee shop, park bench, Potbelly’s, Costa del Sol…

+ I can take a 2 hour lunch without feeling guilty about it.

+ My apartment is always clean now since I clean to procrastinate.

Negatives

– Most of my interaction with others is through a computer now.

– There is no one to talk to over the cube wall (Miss you Jenna!).

– Meetings are all virtual.  I miss the face-to-face collaboration.

– On days when I didn’t have any work to do, I didn’t get paid because I couldn’t bill those hours (this is back when I was doing some consulting work)

– I stare at the same walls in my apartment before, during and after work (this must be why people have home offices, instead of working at their dining room table).

– I feel like I need to be connected constantly so I won’t miss an email or a phone call.  Whereas in the office, if I wasn’t at my desk, come back later.

This new lifestyle definitely takes some getting used to.  I think my perfect scenario would be to have an option each day to either work from home or go into an office with lots of people around me.  Then I could still talk over the cube wall if I wanted to.

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Coming soon: Facebook in Kiswahili

Africans are using their mobile phones to access the web more and more these days, and their favorite site to visit is  (surprise, surprise): FacebookOpera Mobile saw a triple-digit percentage growth in mobile Web usage in just one year in Africa, with page views in the top 10 countries increasing by 374%, unique users increasing by 177%, and the amount of data transferred increasing by 183%.

This is significant because it signals a change in the way Africans are accessing information and connecting with each other.  Given many countries’ weak communication infrastructure, getting proper internet access has always been a challenge.  But as Richard Wray says in his article for the Guardian:

Mobile usage is ballooning across the continent and the African mobile phone market – at more than 400 million subscribers – is now larger than in North America. Some countries, such as South Africa, have ‘mobile penetration levels’ – the number of handsets compared with size of population – close to those of Western Europe.

Proper access to the internet and social networking sites like Facebook present new possibilities for the way African country governments, international aid organizations and African citizens themselves provide and access services like health care, finances, and small-business development.  I’m excited to see how Africans will embrace these opportunities and will be looking out for status updates from my friends in Nairobi, including the tea farmers in Gatundu.

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