20 Tishrei 5782 / Sunday, September 26, 2021 | Torah Reading: Sukkot
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The Special Opportunity of Working from Home    

The Special Opportunity of Working from Home

Working from home has many challenges. I’ve made all the mistakes, so now I can share my tips and tricks with you!


Unless you were a writer, phone salesman, or live in babysitter, nobody would entertain the thought of you working from home. Technology didn’t allow you to do at home what you could do at work.  


That’s changed.  


Cloud platforms enable us to log into our work station directly from our home computer. This technology has been used in bits and pieces over the last ten years as cloud platforms prove it’s possible.  


The risk that people working from home may not be as productive kept remote working a luxury.  


Coronavirus has changed all of that. What used to be a novelty is now a necessity.  


Even after, G-d willing, the pandemic passes, anyone coming from a conference in another country may be required to stay at home for a week or two. If someone has the sniffles, new company policies may require they protect everyone else by staying at home. There may be sporadic lockdowns from time to time.  


Businesses worldwide are adapting by expanding their technical infrastructure to enable remote working as a new normal.  


The Great Opportunity 

Just like keeping the commandment of peace in the home during working hours was a novelty, now it is a necessity – and an opportunity.  


At least two hours of commuting time is now home time.  


Whenever your children, your wife, your husband, need you, you are right there. You can help out in ways that were never expected of you, taking daily chores off everyone else’s plate and giving strength to the people you love.  


This is a tremendous gift. Serving one’s family is a Divine act. Chores like taking out the garbage, cleaning the dishes, and sweeping the floor are all fulfillment of Hashem’s Commandments 


Working from home can add huge Divine Favor to your life, your family, and your home. It is a something special Hashem is giving mankind for the first time.  


Meeting the Challenges 

For the past year, I have worked from home every Thursday. I got to make all the worst mistakes, find ways to prevent them, and move along the learning curve.  


Here is what I learned, and the standards I set up to make it a success – which I hope you can benefit from as well: 


  1. 1. Plan your day with a two hour lunch break. Plan what you will do, and how long it will take. You will accomplish more with a handy to-do list. Accept that new projects and requests will come in, and the plan will change.  
    Most of all, plan to help out around the house.  
    If your wife is over her head with kids screaming, dinner burning, and a pile of wet laundry waiting for the clothesline, she will ask you to help. Never refuse her! When she says, “take out the garbage,” say, “My pleasure! 


This is your toughest hurdle.  
When you are on the computer, you are in “work” mode. Somehow it makes us feel super important, more so then when we are in “home” mode. When we commute, we have at least thirty minutes to transform from the “work” me to the “home” me, and we do it with the satisfaction that we just put in a full day.  


If it’s 10 AM, you are in the middle of a report, getting orders from the living room can feel like the “work mode” you being ripped away like a limb from its socket.  


It’s the amputation of your ego.  


Trust me – I know.  


The instinct is to scream at your wife (or your husband when it’s his day to work in the afternoon and take care of the home in the morning hours). The temptation is to reprimand your beloved in the name of “Hey, this is our livelihood!” 


You have to bite your lip. Remember that “work me” is a servant to “home me,” and “home me” is a servant to everyone else in your home. This is an act of humility. It requires the exertion of the heart and that, above all else, is what Hashem wants from us.  
I made this mistake more times than I want to remember. I still make it. Whenever you snap at someone who breaks your concentration, please keep this in mind.  


  2. 2. Do something special at home. Make breakfast for your family every Tuesday morning. Take your wife out to lunch every Thursday afternoon. Do the dishes after every meal. It can be as simple as making your soulmate a cup of coffee and joining her whenever you want to take a coffee break.  
    Remind the people around you how much happier they can feel because you are there.  

  1. 3. Don’t make your wife your secretary. There is an instinct to protect our “I am so important in work mode” ego that we ask our wife to do a lot of supporting role things to “help.” If you manage people at work, you might unknowingly default to treating the people around you like they have to do what you tell them. You might get even more angry when they ask you to play supporting roles for them.  

  1. 4. Keep your eyes on the big picture. Hashem commands us to place our wife first place. G-d commands us to make her priority over work. Every time you put work on hold for her sake, you are telling her, “You are more important to me.” You are speaking to G-d saying, “She is more important to me.” 
    It is an act of gratitude.  
    More than any “win” at work, giving more attention, focus and love to your family will merit blessings at home, in the office, and in our case – both!  


* * * 

David Ben Horin lives in Israel with his wife and children. 



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