I can still see myself sitting still on I-95 N desperate to get home or yelling profanities from my front row seat at a traffic jam on 676 East. Commuting was miserable, and I had had it. I Googled remote jobs, freelance jobs, flex jobs… anything to get me out of my car and at my kitchen table.
Years later, here I am. It is Saturday morning and I just finished up two hours of work that I had to catch up on to meet my forty hours, due to doctor’s appointments and lab work that cut into my days. I completed my hours in my silent home while wearing my pajamas, robe, and with my husband’s slippers on my feet. In front of me is my second coffee of the day. I am very grateful.
Truth: Working from home affords incredible flexibility.
In many ways, working from home is all it is cracked up to be. The flexibility of working from home cannot be understated. I work when I want and where I want. If I have appointments, I can finagle my hours so I do not have to take time off. That way I can hoard my PTO for future adventures instead of using it for things like a doctor’s appointment and the five days of jury duty I still haven’t gotten over…but I digress.
The flexible nature of it also allows for so much freedom over when I cook, eat, exercise, grocery shop…and how long I spend on each. This has been invaluable this year as got into the rhythm of supplement regimes and accustomed to dietary changes. It also allows me to avoid the chaos of peak market hours and thus save me time overall.
Truth: Working from home adds hours to your day.
That’s another thing, time…I have added so many hours to my day by working from home. Before, I would spend at the very least two hours per day commuting. That time has been returned to me and allows me to pursue what I enjoy doing: like three hot meals a day and doing other freelance gigs on the side. That is, of course, on a good day…but I’ll get to that.
Truth: Working from home saves us a LOT of money.
Perhaps the most obvious benefit is that I save a LOT of money! By working from home I was able to sell my car, stop buying new clothes, and automatically nixed the I’m just going to walk to the corner and buy a snack habit that comes out of boredom in the workplace. I need to set aside some time to calculate the actual savings in the past year, but it has been significant.
So, working from home rocks in so many ways: the freedom, the savings, and the flexibility. But like anything, there are always bits and pieces that make you nostalgic for life when you were not a hermit.
Truth: Working from home is really lonely.
Yes, working from home is isolating. Sure, I have my little online tribe at my job I connect with via Skype and pauses throughout the day to send emails to my husband, but overall it is lonely…especially in the winter. As you can imagine, I am dreaming of the warmer days where I can sit on my stoop or head to a local cafe and work.
Truth: Creating your own schedule is tough.
I need a routine. I pledged to create one late last year…that hasn’t really happened. That’s the thing with working from home or freelancing: You make your schedule. Most often our schedules are determined by some outside entity- a job, school, children’s schedules, all of the above…So imagine you have a completely blank canvas…What would happen?
In my mind my schedule is a perfect combination productivity and serenity. I start each day with yoga, meditation, or journaling, have calm breaks for meals and stretching or walking breaks in between before ending in the early afternoon to make dinner or work on other projects. In reality, it’s more like this:
Many mornings I hang relax in bed for a while before getting up and spending a bit too long on breakfast before starting work, chugging along until lunch. I spend too long on lunch, finding myself behind for the afternoon, so I neglect any stretching or walking breaks then as well. This wreaks total havoc on my body. On most days, I stick to eight hours of work. On some, I find myself behind and still call it quits-This is only effective if you want to work the weekend…which I do not want to do!
Truth: Working from home is still a real job.
It is tough to communicate at times, especially when you tout the incredible flexibility of the job, but working from home demands much of the same as working in an office. You’re just home. It is difficult to set boundaries with yourself and others for if and when you will take a day off for pleasure or to run an errand with promises of making the hours up later… because you have the freedom to do so! But I have found it is essential to treat a work from home job like any other, and make taking time off during the week here and there the exception rather than the rule.
So, do you work from home? What are your tips for making it work?