Working from home could be the best choice you ever made. Or you could hate every minute of the solitude and isolation. Anyone working from home will identify with these 18 daily struggles - whether real or imagined!
The number of people working from home is on the increase. Flexible working, superfast internet connections and other advances in technology, such as VOIP and video calling, means that event planners can truly work from anywhere.
It has actually been proven that those working from home are actually more productive than their office counterparts, so it is no surprise that more people are embracing the opportunity every year and that employers are becoming more open to flexible working arrangements.
Whether you are setting up your own business, working as a freelancer or simply working from home as an occasional change of pace from your office setting, here are 18 realities of working from home.
Goodbye 6am Alarm
One of the biggest bonuses of working from home can be avoiding the daily commute and grind, and as a result you no longer need to be awake and out of the house ridiculously early (result!). Friends can be incredulous to find out you don’t actually get up until 8 am some days, which makes you feel slightly guilty or inferior, for all of about 5 seconds.
Working from home gives the freedom to adjust your working day to the times you are most focused and productive. If it works for you to work until midnight and start work at lunchtime then do it. Don’t let the expectations and stereotyping from the rest of society limit your creativity.
Not Leaving the House for Days
In the miserable depths of winter this can be a definite bonus. Sometimes it is possible to go for days without actually setting foot outside the house. If you need anything just get it delivered to your door. And at least you can guarantee you will be in to receive the parcel too!
Your Work Wardrobe Turned Casual
When you work from home daily comfort quickly becomes more important than style. Your weekly wardrobe varies crazily from more formal workwear (that you are now relieved not to have to wear every day) and cozy jumpers and woolly socks that you favour for the rest of the working week. You can enjoy “dressing up” on the days when you actually “see” people and feel smug, and super-comfortable, the rest of the time.
Not Talking to Anyone for Days
This may be hard to comprehend for many but working from a home base can be lonely. Sometimes you can actually go for days without talking to anyone. Or at least anyone other than your cat….
The No Thrill Lunch Break
As much as you resented paying over the odds for your lunch every day when you worked in the city there is something nice about making a choice about what you want to eat and having to go and forage for it. Even a short lunch break offered the chance for a change of scene, and to stretch your legs, away from your desk. Don’t underestimate the luxury of catching up with workmates and having your food made for you! Though you will save a fortune on dinner money and fancy coffees, lunch breaks at home never quite have the same shine.
Zero Step Count
I was super excited when I bought my step counter. Until that is I discovered how little you can move in a day when you work from home. Hitting 10k steps can be a distant dream when the furthest you walk is between your desk and the kettle. With sedentary lifestyles posing massive health risks much more effort than ever before needs to go into hitting your activity goal each day. Maybe now is the time to seriously consider investing in a stand up desk?
Your dog or cat are your daily companions to keep you company through your working day and possibly even to help boost your productivity. Until that is your cat decides to jump on your keyboard or your dog has an out-of-character barking session during that important international conference call. The saying “never work with animals or children” is good advice.
Annoyance with People Who Seem to Think You Don’t Have a Job
If you work from home the biggest frustration can be people confusing it with you being available. This actually makes me quite irate. After all, you wouldn’t just drop in to see your daughter or friend when she was at work in her office job in the city, so just because their work location has changed to home it isn’t now acceptable for people to drop in for a chit chat, unannounced, on a Tuesday afternoon. Working from home doesn’t mean there is less work to be done. Grrrr.
Not Switching Off
The biggest challenge if you work from home can actually be switching off. Your home office has a constant presence and when you can hear your office number ringing after hours and see your answer machine flashing with a new message it doesn’t help to establish the boundaries between work life and normal life or forget about your looming deadlines.
No Team to Call On
If you work from home you often work alone. This can mean no colleagues to bounce off for inspiration, no receptionist to field off cold calls, no IT department to fix your computer issues and no one to delegate to. Everything is down to you and you alone. This can of course be both liberating and limiting.
Keeping Receipts for Everything
This isn’t just a working from home thing, this is a general self-employed, working for yourself obsession. You look at every receipt in a new light - “is this a permitted and verifiable business expense?” You save every receipt to keep your accountant happy. It’s tax deductible, don’t you know?
The Anticlimax of Finishing Work
In an office you can never forget the time. At the end of the working day colleagues saying goodbye and leaving and the cleaners vacuuming around you are great hints that it is time to finish up and get going. When working from home it is much easier for day and night to blur into one. This can be great if you are in the flow - just keep working with no interruptions. You can work when you are most productive and set your own working hours. However it can also mean that you end up working all the time. Remind yourself that working long hours isn’t the same as being productive, however much you love your job.
Your Coffee Machine is Your Most Prized Possession
Working from home just gave you the greatest excuse to splurge on a fancy coffee machine (see no. 11). And now you don’t know how you ever survived without it.
No One Else “Gets It”
If you work from home you soon realise that no one else gets it at all. What can you possibly doing that is valuable if it isn’t done from a shiny office block with hundreds of employees? How can you earn a good living if you don’t wear an expensive suit and have a two-hour commute each day?
It seems this is particularly hard for some of the older generation to comprehend. The world has changed drastically and there are more opportunities today than ever before for different jobs and different ways of working.
Challenge the norm. Think differently. Do it your way.
You Pride Yourself on Knowing Every Coffee Shop Within 50 Miles
Although working from home is perfectly functional and practical it may not be suitable or desirable to meet people there. And very few home workers are lucky enough to have a meeting room. This needn’t hold you back though, you will get to know every possible meeting location venue across the region and instantly be able to suggest the setting that is exactly right for the client and appointment.
You Never Have a Day Off Sick
If you work from home and are feeling under the weather you probably power through it anyway. Perhaps it is just me (as a verified workaholic) but giving into the lurgy and taking some time out really seems like you are “skiving” when your home is your workplace. And hearing your phone ringing and ringing in your office is not the best antidote to switching off from your to-do list anyway. Unless you really are at death's door it is best just to soldier on through it in a way that would never happen if you had to leave the house to get to work.
Everyone Thinks Working from Home Means Daytime TV
Many people seem to confuse you working from home with them chillaxing at the weekend, as if the two are the same. They seem to imagine you working from under the duvet, in your pyjamas. And by work they really picture you watching daytime television or Netflix. And probably eating icecream.
Actually, if they want to imagine that, go ahead. If only they knew the reality!
No Office Fun
Anyone that has worked in office environments will remember fondly office pranks, interesting conversations by the water cooler and enjoying cakes brought in to celebrate a colleagues birthday. These pleasantries go out of the window if you work as one. Still - surely the other benefits of working from home make up for it?
Working from home has lots of benefits but also brings a lot of frustrations. Until you have experienced it yourself it is hard to picture how different and also how liberating working from home can be.
It seems that one of the biggest struggles can actually be other people's perceptions or ignorance of your way of life. Whether real or imagined it can seem that other people are judging you. At the end of the day though if it works for you do you really even care?
Embrace the quirks and celebrate your extra productivity…. With your cat.
Do you work from home? What other struggles do you find with this way of working? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.