Most of the time, people who work from home talk about working at home as if it’s the most wonderful thing on earth. Well, yes, it might be.
But what they don’t talk about it are the ugly, hard facets of it.
So I’m writing this post to peel off the curtains and let you take a look at what it really looks like to work from home.
But before that, let me tell you a story.
Five years ago, I was miserable. I was working on a job that wasn’t so fulfilling and that drained my energy and creativity. I’d go home every night wanting cry myself to sleep because I felt like my life’s work had no meaning.
I was going in and out of the office daily it’s become a routine that my body dreaded. I was going through the motions. And I wasn’t happy.
Until one day, I heard about this working at home thing.
After a year of trying to land an online job, I left my corporate job.
Of course, at first, it was liberating.
No more waking up at wee hours in the morning just so you won’t be late in the office.
No more wading through the morning and evening rush.
I was loving it.
But it’s not all paradise. Especially if you’re a mom. I realized working at home isn’t for the faint of heart.
1. You work in your pj’s almost every day
Some people think is cool.
Well, it’s cool all right. At least at first.
But if you’re used to dressing up, this is going to be a big change.
And say goodbye to morning showers. That’s a thing of the past.
Usually, showers take place mid-day, if not later in the day.
I also miss putting on makeup. But I feel silly putting on makeup when I’m just going to be home all day.
I also miss wearing office uniforms and high heels.
2. Family members think you’re on Facebook all day
One of my tasks as a virtual assistant is to monitor my client’s Facebook groups. And if your family members see you’re on Facebook, they think it’s all you do.
Which leads me to my next point.
3. Family members think you’re not working and is available all day
Because they think all you do is Facebook, they think they can grab you any time of the day to do run an errand for them.
It doesn’t matter if you’re processing customer refunds or writing blog posts. You’re home, you should be available.
4. You can’t separate work from personal or family issues
When you work in an office set up, at least you’re in a different environment. If you have issues at home, you can leave it there, and then somehow get to do your work because the environment you’re in will compel you to work.
When you work from home, you have to deal with both at the same time.
There’s a very thin line that separates your work from your personal life. It’s so thin it feels inexistent. Why? Because your home office is probably going to be your bed, an extra table in your living room, or kitchen table, or if you’re really lucky, a spare room which you can’t lock because people keep on knocking anyway. (See point number 2.)
Sometimes you want to scream, “I’m trying to work!”
But don’t worry, if you plan to work from home for good, your family members will slowly start to get it. I’m not saying they will respect your workspace. But they’ll bother you less. Hang in there.
5. It’s hard to focus on work and writing when a toddler is tugging on you
Ah, the sweet sound of being a “work at home mom”.
I’ve always dreamed of becoming one. Until I became one I thought, “What the hell was I thinking!?”
Kidding aside, I love being a mother. I love my kid to death. But damn it’s so hard to write when he keeps on saying “da da da” wanting me to look at him while pulling my pj’s! Lucky for me he doesn’t annoyingly scream at the top of his lungs to get my attention.
I’ve found ways to become a better mom while still doing my job. But I’m a work-in-progress and still have a lot to learn.
6. It’s easier to procrastinate
I once said that motherhood is a great antidote to procrastination. But it’s also a great excuse to procrastinate. It’s a double-edged sword.
I mean, hello nap times.
Nap times are for babies. But they’re so tempting that I find myself napping, too! The more nap times I get, the fewer tasks I get done.
Unlike in an office set up where you do your mighty best not to fall asleep because your boss is just a stone’s throw away from you.
When you work from home, it’s not your boss, but it’s your bed that’s a stone’s throw away that tempts you to sleep. This is worse when your work area is your bed.
7. You have nobody to chat with
You can chat with your “online friends” via Facebook messenger, Skype, or Slack. But in-person interaction is different because it feels, uhm, human.
The introvert in me loves working at home because I don’t like crowds. And I like my alone time. But if you’re an outgoing extrovert, working from home will be a great challenge to you. (If you happen to be one, attend in-person events as much as you can.)
And here’s the biggie.
8. You work more hours than when you work in an office
Yep, work at home peeps tend to work more hours.
Why? Because we love what we do. Plus we have to make up for all those nap times.
Work at home peeps, not just moms, love to hustle. You kinda become a workaholic.
I still wonder sometimes what my life would look like if I didn’t leave my job. But not because I regret my decision. But because I’m grateful to work from home – earning a living without leaving my house – isn’t that great?
Working from home isn’t easy.
You have to work hard, and I mean really hard (see number seven), just to make it. But life is like that.
You take more risks to get more returns.
You take bigger leaps to reach farther distances.
You take bolder actions to become better at what you do.
I may not look as chic when I work (hello pj’s) but hey, I still get to wear my lipstick!
Home is where I belong. And no matter how hard this gig is, I’d still choose this career in a heartbeat.