I’m just going to come out and say it. I absolutely LOVE working from home.

However it is definitely not for everyone.

To start with, I’m an introvert. This means I draw my energy from myself. It doesn’t mean that I don’t like to talk, that I don’t like people, or that I don’t like socialising. Because I really like doing all of those things. As anyone who knows me will know! 

I think it is largely because of my introvertedness that I took to working from home like a duck takes to water when I started over nine years ago.

I have talked before about why I love consulting and I should add that working from home as an employee was a very different experience for me when compared to working for myself. And it’s the working for myself from home part that I’m mainly going to talk about here.

I have to be disciplined and I have to get stuff done. Because, let’s face it, as someone who is self-employed, if I don’t do the work I don’t get paid. It’s that simple.

Working from home-the good, the bad and the ugly - www.melkettle.com

These are my working from home good, bad and uglies.

The good

The good deserves a list – there are so many things I really love about working from home:

  • no commute
  • saving money by not buying a work wardrobe – my work clothes and shoes last for AGES now they are only worn a few hours a week, if that some weeks
  • not having to spend time and energy on doing my hair and makeup everyday
  • flexibility to do what I want and when I want. If I want to start dinner prep at 11am I can. If I want to bake a cake for afternoon tea, I can
  • the fridge is right there – probably the best perk (I am a food blogger!). This means I can have a beautiful lunch every day. Today I had a piece of poached salmon with a massive salad. This doesn’t happen every day – last week I had cheese and crackers three times for lunch
  • catching up on an episode of whatever I’m watching on Netflix at lunch time. Or reading a bit of a novel. Or going for a walk. And if I want to take a two hour lunch I can. Without having to explain my absence.
  • I can have as many cups of tea a day as I like – and go to the loo the corresponding number of times… – and no one comments!
  • far fewer distractions than in an office, and so I get a lot more done
  • my health has been fantastic as I hardly ever get sick – not catching public transport every day or working in recycled air is a massive perk!
  • going grocery shopping during the week when few people are there
  • chucking a load of laundry on during the day. Oh, OK. I don’t actually ever really do this. Because The Accountant does most of the laundry.  But you know what I mean.

The bad

Actually, there aren’t all that many bad things about working from home. I do miss Friday afternoon drinks, but not often!

Yes, there are feelings of isolation, and I do often go for days without having a face-to-face conversation with someone during my work day – and no, talking to the chickens doesn’t count! If I feel I need to talk to someone then I can pop down the road for a coffee, call someone or hop onto social media and have a quick chat.

The only other thing I don’t like about working from home is that exercise is now an effort. I used to walk my 10,000 steps a day easily when I factored in the walks to and from the train station and a quick walk at lunch time to get out of the office. These days unless I force myself, there are days it’s a challenge to even walk 1,500 steps.

The ugly

Without a doubt the ugliest part, and the must frustrating part is telling people I work from home and all they hear is “home”. They don’t understand the bit where it is primarily about work. And this comes from everyone. From The Accountant when he gives me a list of jobs to do – because he is at work and can’t do them – um, WHAT THE? From the teenager who asked if I could take two hours out of my day to drive him around and he can’t ask his mum or dad because they are working. When he knows I work from home because I talk about it. Often.

From people who want to meet for lunch, for coffee, for a drink, to have a chat, to pick my brains, and who then get a bit snippy when I say I’m can’t because I’m working.

From the people who expect me to always meet them at their offices rather than a coffee shop near my office because I work in the suburbs and it will take too long out of their VERY IMPORTANT DAY to come to me. Well, guess what?? My time is VERY IMPORTANT TOO. Working from home doesn’t mean I have time to add an hour’s travel time for a quick coffee! Especially when the same chat can be held over the phone.

I should just say I’m not talking about clients here – I’m always happy to meet them at their office. That service is part of what they pay for and visiting their offices gives me a better sense of how they work. However it’s rare that a client doesn’t offer to meet me somewhere more convenient to me when we need to meet face to face.

From non-working people who say let’s have coffee on Tuesday morning and when I say let’s make it a weekend, they say, oh no, that’s my family time – well, guess what? Monday to Friday is my working time!

Grumble. Grumble. Grumble.

It’s definitely not everyone who behaves this way. But it sometimes does seem like the vast majority.

What about you? Do you work from home? What’s your favourite part? Do you share my frustrations with people only hearing the “home” part of the phrase?? What are your good, bad and uglies about working from home?

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