Working from home comes with several pros and cons
Columnist Kristen Asleson says if offered the chance to work from home, consider the work you do and your home environment during the day.
Working from home seems to be a “dream come true” for those who have never been able to do so. Yet, for those who are able to realize the “dream”, working from home, especially if one is a parent, have also found it is not what it is cracked up to be.
There are so many scenarios that could fit in this scheme. So, let us start with my own. As a virtual assistant, it is at my own choosing as to when I work. My clients have found my work hours are definitely not typical, and sometimes, yes, I burn the midnight oil to get their tasks finished.
The pros of being in this scenario?
- I have the privilege of seeing my kids every day before and school.
- I am able to play taxi when needed.
- I do not miss any activities my children are involved in.
- No commute to work.
- Sometimes, I am up well before dawn and finally crawling into bed well after midnight.
- Vehicle expenses may be more than others.
- Definitely go through more groceries.
- Kids poke their heads in while on virtual calls (or in my case, while taping my guest spot on a podcast, a kid wandered through in a towel; however, I will add, this did land me a guest spot on another podcast).
- There are moments where lacking focus set in.
- No “me-time” in the car.
Would I change things? Definitely not, but some days my mind wanders to what it would be like to just go to an office and work again. Needless to say, being in this scenario does not come without challenges.
Another scenario for those who work from home are people who are not self-employed. A friend, Cheryl, fits this scenario, so I asked her about setting boundaries with friends and family, or if anyone within those groups have different expectations of her since she also works from home. Now, Cheryl is a strong woman who can “hold her own” so to speak, so I am not sure why I was surprised with her answers to my questions.
With as much confidence as a lioness protecting her cub, she stated, “I have made it clear that even though I work where I live, everyone holds the same responsibilities whether it is in-house or outside. We all live here.”
When it comes to having had to set boundaries with those outside the home, Cheryl shared it never has been an issue.
For some, working from home can be more of a distraction than not. It takes a high degree of willpower to ignore the dishes from the night before, the laundry that has piled up, and the time more fun spent on social media.
My daughter who works at a psychology office as the office manager has the option to work from home when she does not have day care or is ill. For her, working from home can be a nightmare. Providing good customer service is not easy with an active 3-year-old boy in the background who cannot find his monster trucks or is hungry ... again.
So, for those who are thinking working from home could eliminate day care costs, a reality check (based on your child’s age and needs) may be needed.
If you are an extrovert who enjoys water cooler talk and lunch breaks with coworkers, you too may need a reality check. Infants, children and teens do not replace the time you need with coworkers. No matter how hard you try, they will not be joining you on a coffee break to talk shop.
In essence, if offered the chance to work from home, take a peek at all the factors that surround this. As much as you want to scream “Yes” at the top of your lungs, take a step back and make sure it is the right thing for you.
Kristen Asleson is owner of Midwest Virtual Assistants. Send comments and ideas to email@example.com .