By Ashley Collins, AgCareers.com
What it’s really like to work from home? Well, for starters it’s 9:06 pm and I’m writing this post. I’m not writing it at 9:06 pm because I spent my eight to five work day, watching movies, cleaning my house, baking cookies or running errands. Insert eye rolling emoticon for people who think that everyone who works from home does those things all day long. I’m writing it at 9:06 pm because I work from home, or I live at work, either way you put it – it’s always accessible for me to be working, and stuff needs to get done! That’s how business works.
For those of you reading this who think that statement is my attempt at brown nosing to let my boss know that I’m a dedicated employee, I can assure you that is not the case. To be honest with you, I can produce multiple performance reviews where my boss has told me to stop working after hours so often. I’ve been with AgCareers.com for nearly twelve years now, way back to 2004, when blogs didn’t even exist. I have years of theoretical, blood, sweat and tears in this company so, I work after hours because I want to finish my projects, be a dependable co-worker, and check things off my to-do list, and contribute to the greater purpose of the company.
So back to what it’s really like to work from home, put plainly, it’s a blessing and curse! That’s my standard answer to people who say to me with such enthusiasm and jealously “oh you work from home, that’s so awesome!”
Yeah, sometimes it is awesome. It’s awesome when I think about the fact that I could be waking up at 6 am, spending a lot of money on business casual slacks and tops, and commuting to work. Instead, I get up between 7 and 7:30, typically don’t shower till noon, which is my lunch break, and walk up 14 steps to my office, does that count as a trip to the gym as well? It’s a blessing on Friday’s when I do laundry during the work day vs. at night or on the weekends. It’s a blessing when I do actually stop work at 5 pm and immediately start supper and have it on the table by 6 pm. And most recently it’s a blessing when one of my beloved dogs (aka as my office mates) was sick and needed IV’s three times a day.
I’ve been working from home full-time for seven years now, and I can unequivocally tell you that I get much more accomplished by working at home vs in an office and it’s not because I sometimes work after hours. I get more accomplished because I’m not distracted by office chatter about the weekend, clients who drop by, and let’s be honest, office drama. I don’t have days where I was planning to work through lunch but a co-worker begs you to go to lunch with them. I’m not typically the first person a co-worker approaches for last minute help with a project or the employee interrupted by the boss with random assignments. I’ve never worked from home for any other company, but from surveying peers who also work from home, many of us agree that we tend to have an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ air to us.
Which leads me to the curse of working from home. I’m not a phycologist, but even the most introverted person needs a little office distraction and heck, let’s be honest, again, some good old fashion office drama! It’s great to be in the know about what’s happening at work both with your co-workers but also on projects, with clients, etc. Sometimes it’s good to go to a restaurant for lunch, and hear all about your co-workers most recent blind date, or to realize that a co-worker or your boss values your input and wants to rope you in on the last minute project. One more curse, for my circumstance. I recently moved twice, which has really made me evaluate how much extra work related furniture and stuff I have that would normally be in my office. If you’ve ever moved and dealt with packing, moving and unpacking you know that less is better! But I digress.
All of these curses can be broken but it can be difficult. It’s a happy medium you have to find when you work from a home-based office or given your particular set of circumstances. You may spend more time on the phone than your co-workers, you learn to ask more questions about projects, or maybe you travel a little more for your job allowing you to have normal business face-to-face interactions. The first step to finding that happy medium is communication via phone, Skype, email, etc. Not letting yourself be out of sight and out of mind all the time, and helping your teammates in the office see both sides of the arrangement.
If you still want to work from home after all I’ve told you, you can visit www.AgCareers.com to find positions that will allow you to work as a telecommuter.