I’ve been working full-time from home for quite some time now. I would say I started somewhere around 2011. My son was about 12 years old. Even though my job had an office, I was given the option to work from home. I went into the office here and there, but not enough to really say I worked out of the house.
It was important to me to work from home because, as the primary parent, I wanted to be able to have the flexibility (which means working the hours I missed in the evening) to be there for doctor appointments, school meetings and so on.
I’ve been very blessed to have this opportunity, but it doesn’t come without its cons. Don’t get it twisted. I trade in long commutes for all other types of crazy. If you work from home (with kids), I’m sure you will relate to this list. If you’re thinking about it, here are the pros and cons of working from home.
Pros and cons of working from home
I live in LA. Not braving traffic everyday is dreamy. I don’t have the stress that comes from sitting in bumper to bumper traffic.
Like I said, I’ve been able to work my schedule around my son’s needs, which has been amazing. Even if I get stuck working late, it’s worth it to me. No matter what, I’ve been able to attend many school functions and even serve in the PTA. Even if I looked crazy (we will get to that in the cons), I was there.
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No gas or lunch money expenditures. OK. Maybe some lunches (and coffee) because I have to get out sometimes. But it does not compare to eating out every day when you’re in an office. When I used to work at Montclaire Art Museum many moons ago, I could not wait to spend all my money at the local Indian restaurant. It was the highlight of my day (and a very expensive one at that).
I also don’t make a lot of trips to the gas station and I save money on work clothes.
More ‘real’ work time
You can sit and plow through a project without being interrupted with meetings (depending on your job), office distractions, commuting issues, etc. I’m the most productive between 9:30am – 12:30pm. I can move mountains in this time-frame.
You can wear whatever you want
I’ve had a few jobs that required corporate attire, and discovered it wasn’t really my thing. I mean, times have changed but I still love being able to wear whatever I please. When I shop, I don’t have to worry about what to wear for the office. I can choose to dress up, down – the world is mine. Sometimes, though, that is not always a good thing. Because when you work from home, you can definitely fall into the yoga pants rabbit hole. I will get to that in cons!
It’s lonely. I don’t have the daily interaction with co-workers face to face. I chat all day long online with friends, but it’s so not the same. Sure, I can go to a coffee shop or work elsewhere, but it doesn’t compare to working with people (well, people you enjoy!).
No end in sight
You can easily keep working until your eyes close. I need to be productive the whole day. I have a hard time sitting to just watch movies or relaxing. If you leave it up to me I would work non-stop.
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This goes with what I said above. You need a lot of self-discipline to start your day and a lot of it to end it! I start at 9am. No matter what. I try to end at 5ish, but that never happens. I also have to work hard to remind myself to eat (healthy), exercise, take breaks, meditate. My schedule also includes a good amount of doctor visits and whatever my son is up to. I live off of my planners. I always have to keep things on track day to day. Fortunately, I have a pretty strong work ethic and get the job done (I thank my strict Irish Catholic education) but I do have my days where I would just rather nap with my cats. I mean, they’re insanely cozy little creatures.
No one believes you’re working
My son always forgets something at home or I need to pick him up from somewhere. I have to remind him that I have a job. What would he do if I was a brain surgeon? He would have to figure it out, right? And I just have the one kid. My friends with multiple kids trying to build businesses at home have all my respect. Family members (and friends who need favors) really don’t get it.
You wear whatever you want
This is the exact same title in pros. Because if you let me I would pretty much yoga pant through life. I love getting dressed up and all, but when I’m working I can’t be bothered with what I’m wearing. I just need to be comfortable. The problem with that is that when I do need to get up and meet the world face to face, I look like I’ve been trapped in a basement.