Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Challenges of Working From Home

There are PLENTY of up-sides to working from home;  not having to deal with morning or afternoon commute traffic, not having to "dress up", not dealing with the constant office interruptions, being more available for your family and many more.  I've worked from home for over 16 years and the #1 question I get asked is:  "I want to do what you do! How you I find a job where I can work from home?"  There is no easy answer to that question and not everyone is wired to be able to work from home and by "wired" I mean mentally, not technologically.  Working from home takes patience.  With that being said, there are a few drawbacks to working from home like; neighborhood noise (no matter where you try to hide in your home to take a business call you can still hear your neighbor's dog barking or that chainsaw running etc), Delivery Personnel knocking on your door, electricity or internet outages, your own animals or children making noise and other unexpected interruptions.  I've dealt with all of those issues over the years but by-far the most challenging has been the assumption of others that because one works from home that means they are available at anytime.
Most people that do not work from home seem to believe that everyone that does work from home is therefore available at the drop of a hat for an impromptu visit, a lunch break, to do them a favor like picking their kids up from school or letting their dog out or any number of other things.  I have often thought, if I was working in an office would people assume it was ok to call me as ask me to leave my office to go pick up their children?  Probably not.  This is not to say that I mind doing favors for my neighbors/friends/relatives whenever possible, but I do work 8 - 10 hrs a day and cannot always flex my schedule to meet their needs.  Its surprising how often people will get upset when you are unavailable for lunch or when they randomly stop by and you meet them at the door, phone to your ear - muted - on a conference call, letting them know you don't have time to hang out with them at the moment.  I'm absolutely convinced they wouldn't just stop by my business office if I worked downtown and expect me to drop everything and have a cup of tea and a chat with them.  Regardless of my efforts over the years to help people to understand that I actually am busy during normal business hours and often well beyond them, the concept of the belief that since I'm home I can't be that busy has not changed.
Working from home is a luxury that I have never taken for granted, it has allowed me to be very active in the raising of my children, to have animals that get a fair amount of attention and to excel in an industry that I love, but it certainly hasn't come without it's challenges.