There are many pros and cons to working from home. When you tell people that you work from home they right away think they know all the pros to working from home. The funny thing is that half of them are not even pros, because they are so far fetched that they don’t make any sense. It goes back to the bite your tongue moment in my last post when they assume you are maintaining your house and kicking back.
So let’s look at some of the cons first:
1. Your start and end time just start to blend into non-existent: The one thing I found with working from home is that it is almost addicting. You very rarely work traditional hours. Well let me rephrase that, you work traditional hours and then some. It starts off normal, you log into work at 9 and work until 5 and think ahh this is great. Then you start to notice that when you wake up at 6 you check your email, have a cup of coffee and start your day while working. Then slowly before you know it you are working in the morning before you bring the kids to school, working all day, then working at night. The night time is what will get you. You sit down to watch a little tv and think, oh hey I am just sitting here I can check a project. The next thing you know you are working every night until the wee hours of the night. I can tell you on average I work for a good 14 hours a day, and so do most people on my team. During our busy time, which lasts a good 4-6 weeks, I can honestly my team is working 16+ hours daily.
2. People think that you are free to just get up and do things any time you want: I can’t tell you how many times I get the call asking me to run here or run there. Or having my kids ask me if I can run to the store while they are at school. Understanding that while I am at home working, it doesn’t mean that I can just drop everything and run and do errands. I remember once when I had mentioned to a friend that I was trying to squeeze in a pedicure and I was just running out of time. She looked at me, almost in disgust, and asked well why don’t you go during the day. Once again I got that tightness in my stomach, and just had to bite my tongue.
3. Summer, Spring Break, Winter Break, Snow days: This one goes both ways. There is nothing worse then when you work at home and your kids are off. It is so hard to know that you need to sit there and work and your kids are just kind of hanging out. I try to keep them busy and plan for them to do things but really I can’t keep stopping my day to bring them here and there. Now that my girls are getting bigger they do entertain themselves and kind of do their own thing. I hate though when they want to do something and I keep putting them off. The whole point to working from home is to be there for the kids, but sometimes I feel like a complete failure at this. It is a total misconception that we can do a ton of things everyday when the kids are home. Because the reality is, I still have a job to do. I recently posted on facebook: Snowday = bring your family to work day. This just makes me laugh because it really is that! The funny thing, this exact topic is a pro! I no longer have to pay thousands of dollars for summer camps. I don’t have to worry about covering every day the kids have off or when we have snow. I remember the stress of trying to figure that out. My husband and I would have to decide who would take off or how we would handle a half day, a sick kid. It just makes that stress go away.
4. Adult Interaction: This is another one that is a pro and con. The one thing I miss is seeing people, interacting, laughing with friends. Having someone to see your having a bad day and dive in to help, lend you a shoulder, or just an ear to bounce things off of. Having someone to make you go to lunch or keep you motivated during the day. I miss all that. On the flip side, I don’t miss a lot of that. I don’t have the office drama. I am not distracted with nonsense or someone speaking on speaker phone so the whole floor can hear it. I remember when I was working in the office, and still young, it was like an office war over the temperature. I mean it was utter craziness over the temperature of the office. Like how ridiculous was that!! And in reality I do communicate with my team like they are sitting right next to me. It is amazing how modern technology keeps you so intertwined with everyone.
I could probably list another handful of cons but I want to talk about the pros because let’s face it there is a reason we all do this!
1. Flexibilty: I use this loosely. I work a lot of hours but the one thing it has given me is a little flexibility. I am able to run a kid to the doctor in the morning and still get home and work 14 hours without an issue. I love that I can adjust my schedule randomly to do the things I couldn’t do when I worked in the office without having to take the day off.
2. Family: I may not be actively doing things with the kids but I am here in the house, in my office. I get to hear them laugh, hear them cry and be there to offer a hug, hear them fight(put that on the con list) and just hear and see them. I get to pick them up from school and have them home early so they can do their work and relax before running to activities. They get to do activities. All of these things were really hard when both my husband and I worked in an office.
3. I am mobile: This is an awesome part of my job. I can work from anywhere as long as I have wifi. This has been a great thing for me. I love being able to go on a business trip with my husband and keeping my work schedule but getting to step out of my house and my normal environment. My daughters have lots of activities and it has me driving them and often time sitting and waiting for them. I am a natural multi-tasker. I have to keep busy. On most nights you can find me sitting in my car at the dance studio with my computer and working away. I know during the summer this is how my team members make it through the day. When the kids start to go stir crazy, they are able to take them someplace, let them play and they keep working and are productive. It gives them the balance they need without an impact to their overall day and job.1