Hey look! I’m posting! Let’s talk about working from home.
Quick professional overview: I am a senior consultant for a ed tech company based out of Washington DC. Mainly, I do a lot of talking/smiling/nodding/presenting/ while smart people build fancy gadgets that I get to take credit for.
My foray into working from home was an accident. Back in 2013, Huz accepted a job in Houston and I quickly realized that there was no office in Houston for me to transfer to. I either had to quit my job (which I loved) or grow a sack and try to work out some kind of remote situation. I explained that I didn’t want to leave the my team or the company, but I understood that my current position wasn’t remote but I would love to stay on. The next day my boss told me they were down with it and I then became the only remote employee in a department of 40 people.
My initial WFH days were spent at my mom’s house as I took client calls from her study while her elderly cat climbed on my ‘desk’ which was a forest green card table. I had to time my calls around the yard man (because George would bark non stop psycho style) and the arrival of her housekeeper (because she has been with our family forever and I HAD to speak with her everyday and watch the Steve Harvey show with her for an hour immediately when she arrived). After we moved into our current house, I was working in a little office nook off our breakfast room and I thought I had ARRIVED. Lo and behold, I had to quickly rethink my plan when George barked and harassed me all day. I realized I needed a door that closed and I needed it pronto. By then I had accepted a consulting position with the company I’m with now.
Flash forward 3 months and I had moved upstairs and taken over our third bedroom. I had convinced Huz to accompany me to Ikea where I bought the largest desk I could find. It took me 2 years (no lie) to hang pictures and it’s still not totally perfect but it has a door and two beautiful big windows and a flat screen TV.
Everyone always tells me they are jealous I get to work from home all day and I will tell you if definitely has its advantages. That being said, its hard too.
1.Literally the most flexible schedule ever. When I was in DC on-boarding for the job, I asked my then manager what my work hours were and she replied ‘you tell me’. I didn’t even know what to say. Essentially, I start working at 9 and finish anywhere from 4:45 to 5:30 depending on the day. I typically take a break to eat and about an hour to work out. If I need to take additional breaks for errands or an appointment, I will make up my time the next day or work at night to wrap things up. If anything it’s about being as efficient with your time as possible.
2. No annoying people up in your space. I’m no longer bothered by the co-worker who wants to talk about her dog’s ex or the guy who wears rip away pants to work. I am 100% in control of my interactions.
3. Isolation from drama. I am blissfully unaware of people butting heads or any kind of management drama. Layoffs ahead? No idea! Steve won’t stop cooking salmon in the microwave? Gross but I don’t smell anything!
4. My co workers! Maybe I love them so much because we are isolated (see #3)? My team is a great group and I love them all!!
5. Work attire. I rarely work a day in my pjs (I find that it makes me feel lazy and gross) but I could if I wanted. Unless I am onsite with a client (which happens about once a week) I am wearing yoga pants and workout clothes.
6. Saving money. I have never mastered eating out alone so if I do go out its usually to get something quick to go. I’m also a huge fan of Trader Joe’s pre-packaged salads. I stock upon the weekend and usually eat those for lunch.
7. Time to cook! I am usually able to cook a good dinner most nights because I have time to get things started nice and early.
8. Time to do ME. I may of may not have watched Bey’s Lemonade three times on Monday and I can because I can do what I want because I work from home.
1. Things get . . . weird sometimes. If I am working too hard and don’t actively make time to leave the house, I turn into a real weirdo. I start talking to George, I bombard Huz with questions when he gets home from work, I have no idea what is going on in the world. Working from home means you have to CREATE human interaction – and that is a weird thing to have to build into a day. Especially for someone as extroverted as me.
2. Weight gain. So this is a thing. If I had a fit bit, it would have died by now because when your office is 12 feet away from where you sleep, you aren’t really moving that much. This is why I have to build in some kind of physical activity in each and every day (and it helps with item #1). I’m either at the gym or walking George.
3. Spending money. For all the money I save on food, I spend it online shopping. Sad times.
4. Diversions from work. There are days where I just CANNOT focus until I have paid all my bills/made the bed/measured my chandelier/filled my bird feeder/cleaned the kitchen/ fluffed the pillows on the couch/cleaned out my car/made homemade salad dressing/finished my Radiolab podcast/wrote a thank you note from 2 Christmases ago/googled how often to water a fiddle leaf fig/put my tennis racket from MS in our garage.
5. Lonely times and too much time to think. Any problem in your life will be 190% overexamined if you work from home. Fight with your spouse? They get to go to work but you get you sit around all day and stew in it. Worried about something? Feel free to doom-loop all day as you sit in your home office and try to get some work done. The struggle is real here and that is why therapy is real too.
Long story short, I’m mostly happy with the setup now but I do sometimes wonder about what it would be like to work in an office again. I DID have a dream last week that I took a new job in an office and I woke up crying so that might be a clue as to how I really feel about it. Working from home will be really amazing when I have a baby so I look forward to having flexibility in that situation. What I DO know is that I will probably watch Lemonade again tomorrow and for that I’m not sorry.