Ten Truths About Working from Home
“My name is Hayley Bigham and I work from home.” Often when I tell people that, I get a lot of questions and a surprising variety of reactions:
“Is it hard to work from home when you have dishes, laundry, house-things staring at you?
Do you find yourself getting distracted?
I’m not sure that I could be by myself all day.
Do you watch tv while you work? Do you get lonely? How do you do it?”
Honestly, I still wake up some days and wonder how I got this sweet set up. I am really blessed with my current job and have no idea how I got so lucky. I absolutely love working from home, and once I figured out a routine, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I am here today to unveil the pros and cons of working from home. It’s definitely not for everyone, but after 3+ years, I am here to prove that you can be productive and free from distractions while you work from home.
My experience has been a process. When I first transitioned to working from home it was hard to adjust. It was mostly the silence, and not seeing another human being unless I actively tried, that was the hardest part. The feeling of freedom might also be a little too much for some. It was hard to adjust to being solely responsible for making myself get up and “go to work”, and in the first few months, I felt like I needed to constantly prove that I was actually working.
When I started working from home, we lived in a tiny bungalow rent house. My “office” shared a room with our guest room, overflow closet, and entryway. It was so tiny, it forced me to be organized and clean. Many times when we had guests spend the night, I had to sneak into the room to grab my laptop and work from the dining room, so they could keep sleeping. Fast forward to now. I have a whole room in our home as my dedicated office space. It is in the front of the house, so I have the natural morning light beaming in, I am able to keep tabs on our neighborhood, and the dogs are entertained by the constant stream of walkers, cars, and kids.
The Pros and Cons of working from home. Enjoy!
1. Con: Door to Door Salesmen
When working in the office, you escape all the door to door salesmen. Now I feel obligated to answer the door. Especially when my dogs blow my cover and are about to jump through the door and attack whoever is on the other side.
2. Pro: Flexible with Deliveries
It is really nice to be home during the day, if we need something worked on or delivered. I let them in, chat for a few minutes, and go back to working while they do their thing.
3. Con: Turning into the Crazy Dog Lady
If I don’t make it a goal to actively get out of the house and talk to people a few times a week, Caleb would be the only human I see, besides my church family (thank the Lord for his church, I love them!). I have caught myself chatting to the dogs multiple times. I’m sure if someone sat in my office and observed the daily behavior and “conversations”, there might be some concern. But that’s what happens when you’re alone all day with two dogs. They become your furry assistants and get in trouble for sleeping on the job. ( ;
4. Pro: We Can Hide if We Want To
When I’m having a bad hair day, didn’t get enough sleep, or my eyes look like a blow-fish, thanks to Oklahoma allergies, no one has to see me, besides my loving husband. Lucky him!
5. Pro/Con: Co-Workers and Interruptions
This is a con/pro to me, but for most people it could be a con. I love my co-workers and making friendships with them, but when I am at work, I would rather be focused and working through my to do list, so I can feel productive about the day.
While I worked in the office, it was crazy how many interruptions I would have during a day. Some days, they were a welcomed break, but it was hard for me to get back in the groove if I was really focusing on a project. I didn’t feel like I could sit down and work through an entire project without getting interrupted in some way.
Now, that I work from home, I am free of most of the office interruptions. I still have email, instant message, and my phone, but I can control those things for the most part. I can think through problems, sketch out ideas and work through an entire project without someone coming into my office and throwing my focus off.
However, it’s hard to get to know and really build relationships with people that you see maybe once a month, and talk to over instant message. There is definitely a disconnect from the social aspect of working in an office. If you are an extrovert, this might be the killer. Since I’m an introvert, it is a down-side, but I can still go about my day feeling like my “social cup” is full after talking to a coworker for a few minutes over the phone or though email.
6. Pro: Cheaper and Healthier Lunches
I eat at home for most of my lunches. It’s so nice to be able to heat up leftovers or make my lunch at home. I eat a lot healthier than I would at an office, and it’s cheap, because I’m not going out to eat every day.
7. Con: Distractions
This is the topic that people want to know the most about. The first few months of working from home was hard to be disciplined and put limits up. Since our rent house was so small, if dishes or laundry were staring at me it would make me claustrophobic! So I created a system. Each night before we went to bed, I would do a quick clean up of the house, so that I could easily focus throughout the next day. Also lunch was a great time to vacuum up the pet hair that was waving at me from the wood floors.
Some days, when I don’t feel as focused or motivated, I work from coffee shops, where I don’t feel obligated to clean or organize. That has been my secret weapon. And as a plus, I get my human interactions for the day!
I’m not much of a tv watcher, so besides the occasional show over lunch, the tv isn’t a big distraction for me.
8. Pro: Lunch Hour Praise
Lunchtime is my golden hour and it’s been a great time to help free myself from any distractions that I might have during the day. I run errands, do a load of laundry, pick up around the house, walk the neighborhood with the dogs, go on a short run, or eat my lunch while I catch up on a tv show. I make the most of that sacred hour!
9. Con/Pro: Pretty Work Clothes
When you work from home, you might start out getting dressed and pretty for the day, but after awhile, if you’re like me, you will want to be comfortable. To me, this looks like leggings and a comfy top, a fresh face, fresh breath, and warm socks (I have perpetually cold feet – it’s the worst). With that, I no longer need half of my closet to be professional working clothes.
I do still go into the office every month or so, so I have my few go to outfits, but I don’t have a good reason to buy a fresh new professional wardrobe every spring. This is a con for me, because I am a lover of clothes and shoes and everything in between, but it also is a pro, because now I can use that money else where, like pretty pens, design books, and mole skin notebooks! ( :
10 Pro: Flexibility and Freedom
Although I have defined working hours and have set limits on myself so that I can efficiently do my best work, I love the feeling of flexibility and freedom I get from working from home. I love that I can work from the comfort of my own home, instead of feeling stuck inside an office all day. I love that I have the freedom to step in the backyard and get some vitamin D, and cook my own food for breakfast and lunch, and wear comfy clothes. I enjoy feeling responsible for my schedule, to do list, and work. I enjoy feeling trusted and valued as an employee, rather than being micromanaged and constantly checked in on. I love never feeling rushed out of the door, and I will not miss putting on makeup while I drive to work. ( ;
Working from home isn’t for everyone, but it is definitely for me! I feel like I have the best job in the world.
I want to hear from you work-from-homers, what are your favorite parts of working from home? What are your least favorite parts? What are some of your tips for staying focused and productive during the day?