Before Emeline was born life was flexible. I could sleep until 10am if I felt like it and I could take as long of a lunch as I pleased. I could avoid peak hours at the gym and getting to the bank or post office before they closed was never a problem. With no commute time and the ability to bring my work anywhere I could travel whereever and whenever I wanted. Sounds like the life doesn’t it? People always tell me they envy me when I tell them I work from home. No doubt, because of the reasons above, but working from home isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Some days I seriously long to go to an office. Let me explain the dark side of working from home.
After I started working from home my life began to lack any sort of schedule. I felt like there was less time in a day, but in reality I wasn’t as efficient as I was when I had a schedule. I became lazy about simple things like cleaning the house, mowing the lawn or grocery shopping. I woke up at different times every day and some days that was far too late; I felt like the sun was starting to set and I was just starting work, yuck. It is much easier to have a schedule when you have a reason to wake up and an external force to drive you. I find that I thrive when I am up early and if I am exceptionally efficient I can have work done and the house clean by 2 or 3pm. When you work from home you really have to muster the will to keep a schedule and be organized. Don’t sleep in everyday. Get up, get moving and get things done so you can experience what it feels like to relax, not living your who life in a relaxed state.
Solitude is a problem when you work from home. This is especially true if you move somewhere new. Yes, my husband works from home, but he is at home to work, not talk to me. The best thing about working in an office is the human interaction. How I miss grabbing a quick coffee and catching up on all the office gossip. The only chit chat going on at home pre-Emeline was my one sided conversations with the cats. On a side note, if you do work from home I recommend a pet. As outgoing as I am, making new friends is not easy when you work from home. You have to be ultra brave and just go up to people at the gym, local park or befriend that person you bought something from craig’s list from (yes, I have done this). It’s like being in a new school and finding a place to sit a lunch when no one has said more than two words to you all day, daunting.
When you work from home with no one limiting how much you work you risk becoming a work-a-holic. With next to no social interaction in the UK (apart from my awesome friend Hannah) I found myself putting in 14 hour work days before Emeline was born. I could take work whenever I wanted it and I found myself constantly checking my e-mails. I was obsessed with working and glued to my computer because whenever I wasn’t working I knew I could have been making money.
One of the worst thing is that there is no clear cut home time or work time. I remember the feeling of coming home after a stressful day at work and feeling suddenly at ease when I got home. At home there was no work, I could relax and forget it all. That doesn’t happen when you work from home because the office is always just two steps away beckoning you to send just one more e-mail, which undoubtedly turns into more.
Out of sight NOT out of mind, when you work from home your baby knows you are home and they do expect food immediately if you are a breastfeeding mom! Even if you aren’t your baby wants to be with you not the Nanny. It has been difficult, but I’ve stopped myself from going down to Emeline every time I heard her start crying. I needed to let the nanny soothe her and for Emeline to feel comfortable with someone else having her back. Of course, if things gets out of control I have the nanny bring her up to me or Alvin. When it’s me and Emeline and times get tough I do ask Alvin to come give a helping hand. This is counter productive to his work day, but it is very difficult to hear your other half struggling and do nothing, so be prepared to be interrupted if you have a baby at home while you are.
Overall I do like working from home, but I wish I had more social interaction. At the end of the day the grass is always greener on the other side, and everyone is different. Here is a quick list of pros and cons.
Flexible work schedule (there will be deadlines and some jobs are not as flexible as others)
No work drama
No Boss scrutinizing your every move
No need to wear a uniform
Limited social interaction (this would be okay if you are established where you live)
It can be difficult to motivate yourself and keep organized and on schedule
Tough to resist working too much
No division between home and work
Work day can be disrupted if children are at home