My daughter came up to me after school yesterday while I was working from home. She hugged me and said “I will miss you.” And I replied… I will miss you too, and thought how lucky am I to be here for this moment and many other moments like this. Amanda is going off to her Freshman year of college and starting her summer session.
As she prepares to go off to school, I have spent time reflecting on choices I have made in her life. One of my best choices was to pursue working part time from home when Amanda was born. I read in our company policy manual that we had a policy for a flexible work schedule, though I hadn’t seen it in action, I knew I wanted to try finding a solution that fit both my career and life.
So, I approached Sodexo and asked for a work from home option. It took 3 different tries before we could find a solution that worked for both Sodexo and me. I began working from home two days a week when Amanda was 3 months old, and ever since then I have worked at home.
This worked well for my job because I was a writer and everything I produced was tangible and had a deadline. It was evident I was accomplishing my work, even though sometimes it was on nights and weekends. I thought other peers might have a problem with me working part time from home, but they were supportive. In fact, as other women began having children, they asked me how I set up a flexible schedule and I shared what I had done to make it work – many also began working part time from home.
As a single working mother, there are many benefits to working from home. Having the flexibility to work some of my hours during nights and weekends helped me to live a balanced life. Because work is always there, I had to make a conscious choice sometimes to shut off my computer and join the family. However, I was less stressed and had few interruptions at home, so I was much more productive working from home. I could finish more work in the same time than I would have in the office. To this day, the energy and focus I have is so much greater. I am engaged and happy because I can arrange my schedule to make time for meaningful life events that I might otherwise have missed, like attending an event at my school. Sometimes, it is just being there to make my kids a snack when they hop off the bus, or to take a few minutes to listen to them share their good and bad days..
Although I will miss Amanda, I am grateful to Sodexo for the time I was able to share with her. Being able to have a career where I work from home has been a great choice for me. And I thank Sodexo for giving me that option. My son will also be off to college in two years. I have been taking on stretch assignments and earning professional certifications over the past few years because I am now ready to take on even more responsibility and challenges in my career — More work from home opportunities for me and for Sodexo!
Laura Antal is a senior instructional designer for Sodexo.