The truths of working from home
It's not all yoga pants and coffee with friends...
“Ohhhh I wish I worked from home!!!” said one well meaning friend, “I bet you love hanging out with your kids and watching daytime tv!!”
After I finished hitting her in the head with my laptop, I explained that home working isn’t all its cracked up to be, so I thought I would share some of the realities about home working
“You get to spend loads of time with your kids!”
This is true, working from home means childcare issues are greatly reduced. It is great, school holidays are easily dealt with and random parent afternoons mean an hour out of my day with no angry boss shaking their head.
BUT working from home means the hours are round the clock. Explaining to kids that yes, I am at home, but no I can’t play because I am working, is tough. You are there physically but mentally you are in work mode.
Office workers, imagine your kids being able to walk up to your desk at any given minute and expect your full attention! Children don’t care about deadlines, conference calls or that you are right in the middle of something…
“So you just work in your pyjamas right?”
Well, yes. Sometimes I do. But don’t be imagining me in a beautiful pair of yoga pants, silk camisole and pearls… The reality is a grubby pair of joggers and 90s band tshirt. My postman thinks I am either lazy, jobless or Waynetta Slob.
I actually miss getting into work wear. I look longingly at websites of gorgeous, cool, modern suits and wonder if my husband would think I was having an affair if I suddenly started wearing stockings, heels and dresses in the home office.
“You are free Tuesday, right? Could you have my kids/take me somewhere/let me pop in for a brew?”
Ok, I work from home. But ‘work’ is the operative word here! I still have deadlines, projects and work to do, just because I am not in a office block in town doesn't make this less so.
Now and then I don’t mind doing things to help people out, but be aware that taking 2 hours out of my day to help you means I will most likely be up till midnight tonight…
“You work whenever you want!”
That is one way to look at it, the other way is that I work all the hours because it is so tough to clock off. There is always a list of jobs to be done and if you don’t limit yourself, it is easy to work every hour in the day and burn out.
“You don't have to deal with dickhead colleagues”
That is true, but you know, having little human contact through your workday can get really lonely. As much as you may imagine how great it would be not to have to listen to Susan from accounts bitching or not having to look at Jack’s photos from his lads night out, I have this idea that all office workers have constant comedy days full of laughs and pranks a la The Office.
The cat is nice and all, but there's only so long you can talk to her before it just gets weird...
"You must have an amazing home office!"
I do have a home office, but don't be thinking about some inspirational pinterest image! I have never seen those desks covered in kids homework, gas bills and empty coffee cups. Nor do I see those people working from bed, on the kitchen table or on occasion, the en suite bathroom! (Don't ask!)
I'm not complaining here, I love the flexibility of working from home as a self employed person and would struggle with a rigid work day in a office with my health and family.
But next time you think the grass is greener on the other side of the work fence just remember that there are pros and cons to both!
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