The (Ugly) Truth About Working at Home
Want to know the truth? What it’s really like to work from home?
Well as I’m writing this the day before it’s supposed to launch, I am sitting on the couch in my living room with my dog pressed up against my leg taking her afternoon nap. We are cuddled up on top of a heated blanket to keep us warm on this winter day. And I’m wearing fuzzy leggings and a crew neck sweatshirt from my college days.
This my friends, it what working from home looks like… sometimes.
Do you want to know the truth?
Working from home may just be the best thing that’s happened to me. Or maybe starting this blog was actually the best thing that happened to me. But almost one in the same, right?
Working from home is definitely a blessing. And it’s something that I’ll never take for granted.
I get to schedule appointments at any time during the day. I get to work on the couch when my dog is sick. And I get to work from coffee shops or other locations that inspire me to continue to create.
My thoughts on working from home
At this point, I’ve been working from home for a little over a year. And most of that time was spent while working a full-time job.
I would still wake up just like everyone else in the morning and be at work by 8 am. And I would work normal hours from 8 to 5. But to most people, it seemed like my job was less credible because I worked from home.
People often talked around me, not to me, about how they could never work from home. There are so many distractions. They would never actually work. They need the structure of an office to hold themselves accountable.
And that’s great for them.
But I’ll tell ya one thing, that’s not the way it is for me.
I hated going to work every day when I actually had some place to be. And I mean I HATED it!
I didn’t understand why I had to meet at a location that was not helping me be productive. I didn’t understand why it was necessary to drive to different locations and waste time during the commute.
An office is more distracting for me. And in an office is a place that I would never actually get any work done.
And that’s because of my mindset. I know it! I’ve had this mindset for a long time. And it’s not going away.
I love working at home!
Sure it has its downsides. But being able to work in a place that allows me to be both productive and creative is what I’ve been looking for. And my little home office is it!
The negatives of working at home
I say that I love working from home. And I do truly love it! But that’s because I’ve learned so many things along the way that make it enjoyable.
And trust me, I went a few months where I thought I was crazy. I cried at the thought of being so secluded and alone. I thought that I made the worse decision of my life at this age because this was when I was supposed to be making friends, right?!
I’m in my early 20’s! I should be running around having a great time, but here I am sitting at home working in my pajamas.
Yeah. Some crazy thoughts run through my head. And that’s pretty normal for me.
But I learned in the first few months, the downfalls that came along with working from home.
You’re alone… all day
Let’s just start with the obvious one.
When you work from home, you are alone all the darn time! And even if you have a pet at home, you are still alone!
If there were cameras in my house with people watching me throughout the day, they would probably think that I have a problem with how much I talk to my dog. Sometimes I just need to talk, okay?!
When you make the commitment to work from home, you need to understand that you are mostly by yourself. And it’s important to get outside and communicate with other people.
The first thing I did to force myself to get outside of the house and actually talk to other human beings was to join a gym. And at that gym I would not only lift weights and hand out on the cardio machines… but I would also take classes!
I also go to a coffee shop to work once a week. And you may be thinking that there isn’t much interaction going on while you’re working at a coffee shop. But simply being surrounded by people helps to boost your mood and improve the social side of your life!
You can eat anything you want… all day long
I’m not kidding. The fridge is about 30 steps away from my desk. And I could eat ice cream all day long because there is no one else there to judge me. It’s bad.
So one of the lessons I had to learn was to not eat when I’m bored with work and actually eat during certain times.
For me, that means that I eat a lunch and an afternoon snack during the workday. That’s it! No 10 am, 2 pm and 4 pm munchies allowed here. Just lunch and an afternoon snack.
And this might not be a problem with you. Maybe you are better at controlling your food intake compared to me. But this really was a huge “con” on my list when I started working from home.
At an office, you only have what you bring in or what other people bring in for you to enjoy. So your munching is limited. But with a home office, your munching is unlimited. And that definitely has it’s downsides to it.
Work seems to be all you do
When you work from home it can really seem like all you do is work. And that can be a real downer!
One thing I learned early on is that I have to shut down sometimes to keep myself sane.
That means turning off the computers, closing the doors, and telling yourself that you’re not allowed to work until the next day!
Seriously. This helps.
Establish limitations on when you are going to work. And I know that may be hard as a blogger or entrepreneur because you want to work, work, work. But working from home can cause you to burn out if you never let yourself escape. So provide yourself with an escape route! It will work wonders.
People will talk about you (sometimes right in front of you)
I wish I didn’t have to include this one on my list. But I’d be lying if I didn’t.
When I first started working from home, I had so many people that talked about my situation either to me or to other people.
They would tell me what I “had” to do to maintain a work-life balance. They would tell me that I needed to really put myself out there and make friends. And the funny thing is that not one of those people that were trying to give me recommendations ever worked from home.
So I started to develop a thicker skin and got over the fact that people were going to talk about it.
Working from home is still a relatively new thing. And it’s definitely not the norm in today’s working world.
So if you want to work from home, just expect people to talk. Because people will talk.
Life can get boring
This was a last minute add. But I thought it was important.
When you work at someplace other than your home, things can get interesting. You are dealing with all kinds of people and going to different events. And depending on your job, you may be traveling or experiencing new things on a daily basis. And when you work from home… that just doesn’t happen.
And this life, my friends, can get boring! Real boring!
It’s important to find some fun things to do every day. Such as going for a hike, going out to eat, shopping, going to a coffee shop, or working out with friends! Whatever it is that you like to do, make sure that you try to add fun things to your day. It will really help to spice up your “work from home” life.
The positives of working at home
Now that we got all the negative talk out of the way for this blog post, it’s time to talk about all the positives. Because I really do LOVE working from home!
You tend to be more productive
When you are required to go into an office, there can be a lot of distractions. From meetings, water breaks, random chats, emails, people walking by, etc. It can be exhausting!
And maybe it’s just me, but that is not an environment where I can get stuff done!
When you work from home, there are fewer distractions throughout the day. Especially if you don’t allow your phone in your office.
And as long as you are able to separate housework from actual work, then you really will be able to get more done!
You can do the things you need to do during the day
It can be difficult to schedule an appointment after work hours or during the weekend. And it’s a pain in the booty to ask your boss for time off work.
But with working from home, I noticed that I get to get more things done during the day. Like appointments! And even your laundry!
You have more flexibility in your life
The other week, Fancy had a problem with her paw. To the point where she was walking on just 3 legs of that she wouldn’t put pressure on it. And trust me, I was worried sick about my little girl!
But thankfully, I work from home! So I had the flexibility to do what I needed to do to be there for her. I was able to watch her throughout the day to make sure that she was okay and to stop her from licking the area.
And this really relates back to #2, but because I work from home and set my own schedule, I was able to take her to the vet whenever they could get her in. I didn’t need to worry about taking off work or waiting until after office hours!
I got the appointment scheduled for the middle of the day and just worked when I could!
Sometimes I forget about the convenience that working from home has given me. I mean… I don’t have to drive anywhere. I just get to roll out of bed and start working! If it’s snowing out and I don’t want to drive, I don’t have to!
It’s seriously one of the best parts of working from home is the convenience of it all.
You can work wherever you want
This afternoon, I’m working on my couch! And that’s perfectly fine with me.
Most days, I only work from my office. I try not to bring it into my living areas as much as possible. But sometimes, you just want to be comfortable while you get stuff done. And for me, that means hanging out on the couch with my computer.
I can work anywhere that has internet! And even sometimes I can work where there isn’t any internet. And that’s pretty amazing!
Tips for working from home
Some things I’ve learned about working from home don’t really make sense if I put them on the pros and cons side of things. So I’ll just make a little list right here.
You can’t wear sweatpants every day
One of the first things that I hear from people when I tell them that I work from home is “Oh I wish I could work in my sweatpants!”
Well, honey, so do I!
When I first started working from home, I would roll out of bed, grab myself some breakfast and then get right to work. I wouldn’t shower and get dressed until after 11 am on most days.
And let me tell you, that schedule just doesn’t work.
When you don’t look good and feel good, you will not be productive! So I learned quickly that I needed to wear normal clothing throughout the day. Clearly, today is not a good example though…
If something isn’t working in your “work from home” life, change it
It’s interesting how we fail to notice what isn’t serving us. And as you learn how to work from home, it’s important to reflect and see what is working and what isn’t working!
For me, having my phone in my office is a bad idea! I can so easily get sucked into social media for hours without realizing where my time went!
So by keeping my phone outside of my office, I help to limit distractions and stay on task.
So every few weeks check in and see what is good in your work life and what isn’t. And don’t be afraid of mixing things up to improve your day to day situation.
Create a space that is inviting and creative
It’s important to establish a space in your home that you are going to work. Because working from your kitchen table will get old real quick!
I encourage you to create a space that is inviting and creative. You need an area that is going to help you to get work done.
So if that means having a room in your home that is clean at all times, then make sure that your office is clean! Or if you are an artist and you want your office to be really creative, then make it as creative as you need.
It’s important to remember that this is your space! And you get to make it into whatever you need to be as productive as possible.
I think that’s it…
Well guys, I think I’ve said everything I have to say.
I’m sure as soon as I launch this post something else will pop into my head but these are my thoughts on working from home at this very moment!
If you work from home, let us know in the comments down below what’s on your pro’s and con’s list. I’d love to see what you come up with!
Cathrin (Cath) creates content that encourages bloggers & online entrepreneurs to be themselves, chase their passion, and create their success online. 1 year after started her blog (TheContentBug.com), Cath left her full-time position working in the digital marketing industry to pursue her dreams of being her own boss. In weekly blog posts, sporadic YouTube videos, and constant talking on Instagram stories, Cath hopes to spread her story and be an inspiration to others who desperately want to change their lives.