The Reality of Working From Home.

When I started working from home a few months ago, I thought it was going to be perfect.  And while it is pretty wonderful, I was a little bit naive.

1. It’s really hot in July and someone else paying to run an air conditioner all day long is something not to be taken for granted.  My workspace is on the second floor and the afternoon sun is brutal.  By 3pm, it’s been in the mid-80s since May.  This week, 90+.  I could get another air conditioner for the office, but hello, electric bill.

2.  A lunch hour is still only an hour.  Also, an hour really isn’t even that much time if you need to do anything other than eat.  If I have errands to run or I want to work out, I’m still eating while I work when my hour away from my computer is up.

3.  No, my laundry is not caught up. The wash cycle is 27 minutes.  The dryer is 40 minutes.  Folding takes about 15. This means that either I put it in the washer and don’t move it to the dryer fast enough, causing it to get stinky and need a rewash, or it sits in the dryer or laundry basket instead of getting put away, so it’s all wrinkled. Either way, if I’m working during my scheduled work time, laundry isn’t getting done.  Just like if I was in an office.

4. My work stuff is in my house.  I can’t really escape it.  It’s always there, looking at me when I go into my office.  Also, my home office houses our bills, household filing and my writing work.  So while I’m working, that stuff is staring at me.  Basically whatever thing I’m not doing is sitting there mocking me while I do something else.

5. I can’t decompress on my commute, mostly because the 35 seconds it takes me to walk from my office to the first floor where my mom life takes over isn’t enough time to sneeze, let alone decompress. Don’t get me wrong – I in no way miss the one hour plus commute I had at one point in time, but a few minutes to relax would be nice.

6. I thought I would have more time to write because I wouldn’t be running around as much.  Not so.  Not so at all.  When I have a few extra minutes between camp or school dropoff and my start time, I spend it getting my breakfast, starting a load of laundry that I’ll just be rewashing later or cleaning something.  I have the age old problem of needing to get up earlier to actually get anything done.  I know that early morning is a very productive time for me, but I am usually so tired I can’t get myself to get up.

7.  One of my biggest issues in my last office was noise.  I’m very easily distracted, so all the side conversations, interruptions, and even the everyday sounds of other people working was bothersome.  It turns out my neighborhood is quite the bustling place during the day.  Last week, the people behind me had a massive tree cut down in their back yard.  A few weeks before, the house across the street had the roof replaced.  I now know everyone’s landscaping schedule.  I also know all about my neighbor’s car trouble, the new car they bought and the jealousy of the middle sibling that the eldest gets to drive it, even though she has one she can use.

8.  Sometimes maybe it gets a little lonely.  Mostly I miss having someone around to hear me when I yell obscenities at my computer and back me up with a hearty “Yeah!”  But don’t tell anyone I said this because I have a reputation of only pretending to be a people person to uphold.

I’m not complaining though, because it sure does beat the alternative.  Unless the alternative is sitting on a beach and not working but still having someone put money in my checking account every other Friday, in which case I’d prefer that.

Joining the moonshine grid this week.

30 Responses to “The Reality of Working From Home.”

  1. Erica M says:

    A beach with direct deposit sounds awesome right about now.

  2. Cindy Reed says:

    We’re still here! We’re your friends! Seriously, I consider the internet a great big watercooler while I work from home. I do manage to get the laundry done, but certainly not a supper. Use a crockpot! They all say. No. YOU use a crockpot.

    • You are my friends. I must tell you, things like getting emails about freak tattoos really do help on a lonely day.

      Oh, and you know what’s so much easier than learning to use a crock pot? Calling for a pizza.

  3. psychochef says:

    I do a lot of work from home, and the thing that surprised me most was the noise. Blowers, mowers, dogs that bark incessantly. I too thought I would have the opportunity to do a more writing.

    • Seriously, the noise during the day is insane. And I it sucks to find out that working outside of the house was not the reason I wasn’t getting much writing done. Sigh, guess I have to dig deeper.

  4. Facebook is my water cooler. I always tell my kids that FB is where my co-workers live. I also pretend to decompress while I play Candy Crush, but really it just pisses me off as much as traffic would.

  5. Larks says:

    I so hear you on #4. The killer thing for me is that I don’t even have a dedicated office so literally everything is constantly staring at me like a puppy left out in the rain. There are days I debate pretending I’m still in school and hanging out at coffee shops…

    • I couldn’t do this without office space. My job is a 9-5, thankfully, so every time I’m thinking about a bill or whatever I remind myself that there’s a time for that and it isn’t now. However, that doesn’t mean I can always stop thinking about it. I try to make a list and tackle the stuff that I know will make me nuts either right before or right after work so they don’t stay on the mind, but it doesn’t always work. Also, I love coffee shops.

  6. my work at home days are a bust. I’ve started going back in because I can’t deal with the pain of my own thoughts at home or the lack of commute time to defrazzle my brain.

    • This works for me because I don’t have to pay for before care (I’d never make it to work on time if I had to wait for Nathan to be at school before leaving) and I can be right here if something happens. School is a block and a half away and camp is a half mile. My office is about 35 miles away. But when he’s older or my husband’s work schedule changes, I’ll probably go back to a more traditional setting because it’s really the only way to advance in what I do. I guess with work there really is no way to win on every front.

  7. Reanna says:

    I’m trying to get to a place where I can work from home, but I’m convinced I need a bigger house to do it because of #4 and #7.

    #4) Everything I need to do is in this room and it’s easy to believe one is more critical than the other. I’ve recently started using eggtimer.com to give myself an end time for tasks. I set it for whatever amount of time I think a task should take and am able to get pretty focused because I know the stupid alarm is going to go off soon.

    #7) I don’t need a bigger place to manage noise, really. But a detached home would let me dramatically increase the stereo volume to drown out all the dumbfuckery that happens in a residential neighbourhood during the day. Don’t these people have jobs???

    At the very least, I’m glad you’re still finding it preferable to going to a workplace.

    • I’ll have to check out eggtimer.com. Because my work is 9-5, if it’s within those hours, I need to be working. My mind, however, doesn’t always want to stay on track which is annoying. I’m so thankful that I have a detached home, but it’s a suburban neighborhood, so we are all still on top of each other. I live amongst retirees, teenagers and one family who I don’t know when they work because they have no set schedule it seems. Very odd. But it’s so nice to be home and not have to talk to people on the days where I know it’s a bad idea to do so. My grumpies can get the best of me privately!

  8. TaMara Sloan says:

    I’m glad that you at least are finding working at home better than going to a workplace, even if it isn’t as ideal as you first thought it would be. I completely get the need for decompressing but not having the time to between your office and your “mom” space. I homeschool my small people, and I’ve learned that the only way I get that time to decompress is to go outside, take a walk ALONE, and then come back. Unfortunately it’s been about 3000 degrees here for the past few weeks so unless I want to melt, the walk isn’t happening.

    TaMara @ Tales of a Pee Dee Mama

    • I give you a lot of credit because while when my son was little I thought homeschooling him would be great, I soon realized that spending all day every day with my personality clone was a recipe for disaster. I love him and miss him terribly all day, but he needs the outlet of other people since he’s an only child.

      And yes, this heat has made it so much harder. By the time my husband gets home and everyone’s settled, I’m too drained to go out in it for sure. Let’s hope this week cools off!

  9. When I was growing up, my mother was a stay at home mom for about 4 years. It wasn’t until I started going to Pre-School that she went back to work. For awhile I only could remember my mom and I playing games and doing crafts, so I assumed that being a stay at home mom included those kinds of things and only those kinds of things.

    Now that I’m 24, my mother and I recently had a conversation about that time of her life and she revealed that she was actually working non stop. She was writing a ton at the time, people commissioned her to make wreaths, and she babysit other neighborhood kids. I’m so glad that i was exposed to what she actually was doing, because I think that when people here “I’m a stay at home mom” or “I work from home”, they immediately think that it’s the easy way out and the lazy man’s job. Quite the contrary, I’ve found.

    Your post immediately reminded me of this and it was so interesting to read about what a day working from home is like for you.

    (Ps – every day I have at least a half hour commute from my apartment to school and I absolutely understand how you can NOT miss that… however where else am I going to get my reading done?! haha)

    • My job may be work from home, but it’s definitely not the kind where I’m free to do whatever on my own schedule. I have regular set hours that I have to keep. Sure, if I have to let a repair person in I do, or whatever, but mostly I’m working as hard and on the same schedule as a regular in-office person. I think sometimes people forget that I’m not home hanging out with free time on my hands.

      My commutes have always been highway driving, sometimes with young child babbling the whole time, so there was never an opportunity to use the time productively. Just sitting in traffic, wondering why everyone doesn’t just drive…

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing some of your story!

  10. dorothyadele says:

    The worst part is not escaping work, however there are many advantages like avoiding the commute.

  11. Stacie says:

    I’ve never had a job where I could work a lot from home – just occasionally a day here or there. Mostly it was due to managing a bunch of people and meetings. Those days at home were precious. The laundry was a lot less distracting than people stopping in my office every two seconds.

    • Stacie says:

      But RHNJ work too. It’s just different work. Never in my PhD scientist job did I have to haul 50lb bags of salt around for the water softener. My life is so hard (not, although those bags *are* heavy).

    • This is the first time I’m doing the work from home gig and, if responsibilities pick up, it won’t be forever (which I wouldn’t complain about either). At my last job I think I spent 7 hours answering people’s questions and 1 hour doing my work. Needless to say I was always behind and always frustrated. I’ll take the loneliness any day 😉

      We had a water softener at the old house. I HATED putting the salt in it. We would get 400lbs delivered at once and I’d have to haul the bags in the back door and load the softener. So fun.

  12. I’ve never had a work from home job either, although a lot of lawyers in my firm (in different groups) work from home all the time. I think it sounds like something I would want to try, although David works from home at least 2-3 days a week, so I’m not sure both of us being home all day would be conducive to either of us getting anything done. At least not as long as there are shows to watch and a deck to sit on.

    • I didn’t even touch on the call of the TV! You know I love to binge watch like you do, so it is so hard when Kris is home and we can’t just sit all day and watch. Sad but true.

  13. 50Peach says:

    Oh, you KNOW I can relate. I don’t even bother trying to do bills/laundry/cleaning during work hours. Like you said… it either halfway gets done or not at all. Just let it mock you. And remember, I’m here for a vent session anytime you need. Or to back up an F-bomb. :)

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