As a corporate gal, I was always envious of the consultants who worked for me. They had all the perks of corporate life – interesting work, being part of a team, contributing to the company’s success – yet the benefit of doing it from home. I was sure they had discovered Utopia; at least that’s the way it appeared from my view in cubicle land.
You can imagine my delight when I began consulting. This is it, I thought. No more commute, no listening to unexplained noises coming from the cube next door, no more drive-by impromptu “meetings” from colleagues who have a little too much time on their hands.
Working from home has been pure bliss; wonderful; everything I thought it would be!
That’s not entirely true. Let me tell you what I’ve learned about working from home.
The to-do list is longer – That’s because my “work to-do list” is now dating my “home to-do list”, and they have conspired against me to get anything done. Laundry, dishes, cleaning out closets, finishing an art project, rearranging the furniture – are now all top of mind because I pass by these projects on my way to the bathroom. I’ve considered installing a port-a-potty in the office to avoid such distractions.
There are an awful lot of people ringing my doorbell – Who are these people? I thought surely that door-to-door selling was passé in the 21st century. Even with a “No Solicitation” sign, the doorbell rings at least once a day. No, I don’t answer, but my executive assistant does with her barking, which goes on for a good twenty minutes. Yes, I will answer the door for a Girl Scout selling cookies, although that presents another distraction.
I’m hungrier at home – Apparently the saying “Out of sight, out of mind” pertains to my stomach. In the corporate world I strategically planned my eating to coincide with the cafeteria hours. If I was hungry after it closed or ended up working late, I had to forage through my purse and desk for possible food items. I’m not gonna lie; if I was hungry enough I also foraged through other people’s desks. My sincerest apologies to my former colleagues. Unfortunately for my waistline, I can access a fully-stocked kitchen at any time. Now I know why my jeans are “suddenly” too tight.
Redecorating is inevitable – Working from home I tend to notice all the little decorating projects, such as the doorknobs. Meant to change those out years ago. What about hanging a picture or two while I’m at home? I guess being in the house all day just makes a person hyper-aware of such things.
Good help is hard to find – My executive assistant is great company, although I find her habits a bit annoying and sometimes embarrassing. She seems to think that my working at home means that we have all day to play with her squeaky toys. Her barking to alert me to backyard squirrel invasions always coincides with my conference calls, and her constant need for attention in the form of petting makes it difficult to type. Yet I’m reluctant to fire her. While a bit slobbery, she is very loyal.
I. Can’t. Turn. It. Off. – Working from home means that I’ve always got access to my office. Gone is the separation I enjoyed when I drove off each morning. While the commute is great and the lack of dress code even better, I find it incredibly difficult to “turn-off” work and “turn-on” home time. With a straight visual line between my home office and the living area, my computer can see me watching TV. I’m telling you; sometimes I think it calls my name.
For those in the corporate world, working from home is something to dream about. And I do like the perks it offers. We just need to remember the realities, including barking assistants and other distractions. Just watch out for the snacks in the kitchen.