Everyone paints working from home as this idyllic picture of waking up late, going to work in your pajamas, running errands at will, and “being your own boss.” Don’t get me wrong, it can be all of those things. But, in reality, it’s not always everything it’s cracked up to be.
You do have to work–well, that is, if you want to make any money. So, the sleeping late part, and running errands during the workday, ehhh…not as much as you would think.
Your specific schedule all depends on the job and the company. Some jobs simply give you work and a deadline. Whatever hour of day or night you get it done, is up to you. So, in that sense, yes, you can run errands and sleep late.
But, it will catch up to you with some wicked late nights before deadline. You learn pretty quickly that regular office hours are probably a good idea. Other jobs, require you to be available during regular business hours, and expect certain productivity levels throughout the day. Late mornings and errands, have to be snuck in with “artful explanations.”
The truth is, whoever is paying you–be it an array of independent clients, a company down the road, or in my case, a virtual boss whom I have only ever spoken to through a corporate messaging service—they know the market value of the work they are asking you to do. And they are going to pay you accordingly. Therefore, you’re still going to have to work as hard as you would if you were doing the same job in a regular office.
As far as pajamas in the workday, sure. Knock yourself out. But, the truth is, how a person is dressed effects their attitude. Chances are, you’re not going to be inclined to behave as professionally, when you’re working on your couch in a tank top and underoos, while endless episodes of The Office stream in the background. (If you can, kudos to you).
I have found, it’s best to get fully dressed to start my work. That is, jeans, and a casual top, socks (because my feet get cold), no make-up, and haphazard ponytail. Otherwise, I start to feel gross when it’s two pm and I’m still in my sweatpants from last night. It does something to your head–especially day after day.
The being your own boss part–somewhat. If you’re self-employed, your clients are your boss. So, you do answer to them in some respect. But, if you’re just telecommuting, then you still do have a boss somewhere. Granted, they’re not bothering you all day long, but they’re still there, just an e-mail or phone call away.
I have also found it gets pretty lonely working from home all day. It’s just you, and your work–for the most part. Some jobs have messaging apps that allow you to communicate with your virtual colleagues. That helps to some degree. But, you’re all working for the most part, only available to make random comments here and there.
Now, if you’re in a client-based position like sales, it may be easier. You’re constantly out meeting new people. But, if you’re the type that just does work and turns it in–it can get lonely. And boring.
I do love working from home. No commute, and it saves on gas. It also saves on food, because you’re eating from your regular groceries instead of going out all the time. It’s healthier too. You can make nutritious meals, as opposed to processed food on the go. There’s also no dry cleaning or expensive business attire to keep up with.
In a creative position, you can take advantage of all of your gimmicks and tricks to get your creativity going. You also don’t have all of the co-worker drama you would have in an office. That’s a plus.
I love it. But, it’s not everything it’s cracked up to be. Sometimes I miss co-workers. I miss getting up, and getting in full business dress code and heading off to join the world. I miss the energy of business, and the vigor of new people coming in and out.
So, I have to remind myself when I’m working from home, that I am still in the middle of the business world. I am creating files, that are used to fill web pages, that someone somewhere uses to whine and dine advertisers and investors. I am very much contributing. I am still generating and exchanging new ideas, and people are still connected to me through my work. I just can’t see any of it.
It’s just a weird way to live.