Last week I wrote on Spin Sucks about why working from home is the future. The article, also picked up by Ragan, generated quite an engagement. People all over the world shared their experience of working from home, whether it was for a few months or decades.
They also pointed out the less attractive parts of working from home, which led me to today’s post.
As with everything working from home, whether for your business or for someone else, has it’s good parts and less enjoyable ones. There are also differences if you have your own business or are an employee for somebody else.
However, regardless they have a few things in common.
5 realities of working from home:
Working too much or not enough
You may be tempted to work too much or too little, depending on your mood and what you feel like doing that day.
In a society focused on 9 to 5, it can be difficult, at least in the beginning, to feel like you’re working when you are at home in your jammies. Even if you get dressed and go to your home office, you still feel a little strange. The temptation to just do nothing, watch TV, stay on the Internet, meet a friend is there all the time.
On the other hand, you may be tempted to work too much, to do work in advance, hoping that after a few days you will be able to relax.
These are only stages in adapting to a new situation and you have to be aware of that. Your brain fights to bring you back to the routine it’s used to and it starts with the little voice in your head, telling you it’s not worth it, it was better the old way.
The secret lies in finding the balance that works for you, not working too much so that your work from home won’t become a burden, nor too little so you’d feel like you don’t work and get comfortable.
Lack of face-to-face interaction
When working from a brick and mortar office, you talk to your colleagues about your kids, work projects, brainstorm ideas for assignments you have pending. You go to lunch together or for drinks after work.
Working from home takes from you the face-to-face office interaction. You can be in touch via technology with tools like Slack. Nevertheless is not the same.
I get that. You might feel lonely. However there are ways to go around that if you want to. You can go for drinks with your friends after work, you can pick up the phone, Skype or Google hangout and call your colleagues.
It’s not about doing the things as you used to, it’s about adapting to new realities.
For others it’s not work
Family and friends are used with you going to an office, so for them, you working from home might not seem like “real work”. They visit whenever they are in the neighborhood, they call to share the latest things their kids did, and I could go on and on and on.
You just have to let them know you are working from x to y time and that you are available for emergencies only. It will be difficult in the beginning, but they’ll get used to.
There is this belief that if you work from home, it’s easier for you to do the house chores, such as laundry or pick up the dry-cleaning or contact the repairman, etc.
It’s not. Yes, you are at home and you can easily answer your door, or do the laundry because you are already there. I mean, it will take you only five minutes, right?
That’s where you have to work with your husband or wife and split house chores. You can do things in the morning, he/she can do them in the afternoon or vice versa.
But if you are the one that was always doing stuff for your home, while your significant other didn’t, you might have to work on your relationship first.
Free days at a brick and mortar office
Someone argued that because they work from home, they still have to work when the employees in a regular brick and mortar office take days off due to things like weather (snow days, etc.).
You may not like my answer, but if that’s what you see as a benefit in working at a brick and mortar office, you don’t like your job. You might consider changing it and find what you really love to do.
On the other hand, if your office colleagues take the day off for snow days, who says you have to work? You just let people know you are taking the day off or just a few hours. If your boss has a problem with that, when the rest of the employees (him included) are at home, then you are not working for the right people.
I could go on and on about all kinds of situations, but the thing is, if working from home is something you love to do, you’ll find a way to make the less lovely parts work in your favor.
So, decide what is it you most love about working from home and focus on that. You can go a step further and write it down on a paper and keep it close to you when working. This way you’ll always have present in your mind why you love working from home.
What is it you love about working from home?