When thinking about working from home, the first thing that comes to mind is…jammies!! I get to wear my jammies to work – woo hoo! Not so fast.
This spring will mark three years that I transitioned from a traditional office setting to a home office environment. I was really excited to make the change, however, it came with some surprises along the way. I knew I would be tempted to do laundry and pick up around the house, so I was prepared to deal with that. There were a few things, however, that surprised me. Here are my Work From Home Surprises:
The biggest surprise when I began working from home was all the extra time I had due to not having to commute. It was obvious that I would have more time, but I didn’t anticipate how much. My commute was about 45 minutes each way. Plus factor in packing a lunch, dealing with winter gear, an occasional stop at Starbucks – that adds up. When I first started in my new work from home arrangement, I would walk from my bed to the coffee maker, watch a little news on TV and then walk to my desk. Wow! I could be working by 6:30am!
I also saved time, not coffee clutching with co-workers. Not that I was the office Chatty Cathy, but I do LOVE people! Loneliness has been a continuous battle, however, I developed some strategies to deal with that (more on that later). A friend of mine went back to an office environment from home, and he commented that the biggest surprise for him was how much people want to chat rather than work. That has been an adjustment for him.
Enter the laundry and housework. The transition from traditional office to home office is more than just changing where you work, it’s changing how you work and your lifestyle. When you go to an office and sit there for 8+ hours working continuously and then leave – you leave your work behind you. For me work and home were essentially separate. At a home office, you never really leave it. So, a convergance of work and home takes place. When I first started working from home, the guilt of throwing in a load of laundry was awful. But after it hit me that I was sending emails at 9 or 10 at night and answering emails on my phone in line at the grocery store or doctor’s office and on the weekends, the guilt began to fade. The lifestyle is truly a work life balance and it’s not crammed into 8 hours like in a traditional office setting.
No More Atta-Boys
My old office was full of wonderful people who were very complimentary of each other and big on recognizing a job well done. My work was constantly validated with much praise. This really lifted me up. Starting out as an independent consultant and working as a sole practitioner – all those atta-boys were gone. This was the most difficult part of the transition for me. Here’s the good news: I learned to be my own champion and pat myself on the back – something I had never done before. And if I didn’t deserve the self praise, I learned from my mistakes and began again.
Topping the list of wonderful things about working from home: jammies! But just like everything else in life, it gets old. The trick is to do it only once in a while. Most days I get myself ready and dressed and occasionally put on those jammies just to savor the fact that I can. Not having to deal with icy, snowy roads is also high on the list, however, the flip side is that snow days are really a thing of the past for us remote workers. Did you recently become a remote worker? What were your big a-ha moments? I would love to hear them.