For many, a “man’s castle” has been converted to suburban Wall Street, housing the day-to-day operations of the family’s income. The idea of having a continual office party at home has an enticing, irresistible draw – like the Mediterranean Sirens of Homer’s Odyssey. But is working from home all that it is imagined to be?
I, too, have the benefit of working from home. Organization, historically, has not been my strong point so the adjustment from an outside business to working from home came with extra challenges. Approximately 25-31% of people conduct business out of their home. Whether they are telecommuters (employees of a corporation who can work from home), micro business owners, or self-employed, a large share of the population enjoy this benefit of being able to work remotely.
It almost seems like THE “thing” to do anymore. We all know someone who does, and if you currently don’t work out of your residence, you have probably thought about it.
However, before you jump on this dreamboat (or bandwagon), I thought I’d give a little reality check to what it can be like setting up your office in your place of residence – good or bad! Though a little tongue-in-cheek, it does reflect some of the things you need to consider, but overall, I am so glad that such a large percentage of people have the opportunities that they do to work or conduct business from the comfort of home!
– 20 REALITIES OF WORKING FROM HOME –
1. YOUR OFFICE BECOMES THE “EVERYTHING” ROOM
When I first imagined myself working from home, I had in mind a pretty little office with a petite chandelier, a perfectly organized desk, lovely art hanging on the walls, and the aroma of invigorating essential oils diffused throughout my haven, setting the stage for a flurry of creativity and productivity! A place to get away and do what I do.
The reality is, my office is the family “dump” room. When we don’t know where something should go, it ends up on my office floor (granted, most of it is mine). Need some storage space? Yep, Mom’s Office is the place to be.
2. YOUR PETS WANT YOUR CONSTANT ATTENTION
As I’m typing this, my dog has his full body weight on one of my arms and his nose is directly in my face. I literally can feel his breath on me! When I’m home, I become the property of my dog. Laying across my body, scratching at my feet, bringing me piles of toys, sitting next to my chair – making grunting noises to let me know he thinks it is time for ANOTHER walk. Sometimes he even crawls on my laptop while I’m typing and just stands on my keyboard.
3. NO SUCH THING AS “NORMAL” BUSINESS HOURS
Not having set business hours has its perks and drawbacks. Yes, you can be taxi mom or skip out in the summer for a quick kayak on the lake or hike up the mountain before starting work – but it is also easy to lose track of time. For good or bad, many times I get most of my work done in the evening hours, after dinner, or even after everyone has gone to bed!
4. THE HOUSEHOLD CHORES START STALKING YOU
Nothing like sitting down to work, getting in your groove, and then you suddenly look up and see a pile of laundry or you get up for a quick glass of water only to spend the next 45 minutes washing dishes and mopping the kitchen floor.
5. PEOPLE THINK “FLEXIBLE” MEANS “ALWAYS AVAILABLE”
Even worse, WE think we are more flexible than we really are! Oops!
6. IT’S EASY TO PROCRASTINATE
It’s easy to think we can do work “later” since our office is at home and we can work at ANY time.
7. YOU CAN GET TRAPPED IN THE FACEBOOK TIME SUCK
“I’ll just hop on real quick and check my business page, etc.”. Two hours later….
8. YOU CAN MOVE YOUR OFFICE TO THE PATIO OR A FAVORITE COFFEE SHOP
Put on the sunscreen, shades, swimsuit, and a favorite cool beverage…an office-to-go is pretty darn awesome!
9. BUSINESS IS FLEXIBLE FOR YOU
Forget “snow days” or “rainy” days – that’s the best time to work. I’m out the door on “sun” days!
10. HOME INTERNET CAN BE A PAIN
Depending on where you live, you may or may not have good internet service. That can really suck when you are in the middle of something – and there’s no tech department to call.
11. MEETING CLIENTS AT DIFFERENT LOCATIONS CAN GET EXPENSIVE AND TAKE UP TOO MUCH TIME
Not to mention the weight gain! Seriously, this one really caught me by surprise. I realized I was spending much of my precious time traveling to meet people. Some weeks, I was gone more than I was at home working. When your clients become your friends, it’s easy to let this to be too much. I’m learning I have to set boundaries and reevaluate the best way to meet their needs, while being wise with my time.
12. JUGGLING COOKING DINNER AND THE LATEST CLIENT PROJECT
Would you like some marinara sauce with that blog post? Which comes first – a work deadline or cooking for a hungry family? The struggle is real!
13. YOU LEAVE THE HOUSE TO REST
Yea. You are never away from work…unless you leave your house.
14. RAID THE REFRIGERATOR TOO MUCH
Hit a rough spot in your design or work…just grab a bite out of the kitchen, I’m sure that will help!
15. TEMPTING TO SKIP A DAY TO PLAY
Sometimes there are just too many “sun” days….
When you most of your conversations are on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook…you probably work from home!
17. YOUR PJ’s AND YOGA PANTS ARE YOUR NEW UNIFORM
It can be a relief that getting all gussied-up for work isn’t a requirement anymore. The bad side is that you can become one of those people who walk through Wal-mart in flannel pants and messy hair. Hey, at least we save money on makeup and hair products!
(Seriously, it’s so tempting to stay uber-casual but I do find that I’m much more productive if I make the effort to dress nice, even at home.)
18. TROUBLE FINDING YOUR FOCUS
This is pretty much the same as #4. But it’s worth repeating because, frankly, it’s the hardest part about working from home. “Darn, I forgot to defrost the chicken for dinner”, “Is that dust on the lamp?”, “Let me just make the bed and start a load of dishes and…”, “This is a good day to start working out”. And even after all the chores are done you wander around the house thinking there is something you need to do before you get started on work.
19. CAN’T GET AWAY FROM WORK
“Honey, want to watch a movie tonight?”.
“Sure, let me just finish this ONE THING…..”.
20. KIDS VS. WORK TIME
- Fingers poking under the door
- Kids walking in during a video call
- Stick figure drawings on your latest proposal
…………..Need I say more?
It is truly a blessing for those of us working from home, but as with everything in life, it comes with challenges! If you work from home, what would you add to this list – GOOD OR BAD?!
If you are thinking about working from home, tell us why! And join our Microbusiness Tribe Group on Facebook. We’ll keep you encouraged!