work at home

11 Truths About Working From Home

Imagine waking up whenever you want (well, let’s be real, whenever the kids want). You go downstairs in your PJs, make yourself a cup of coffee and something good for breakfast. You stroll into your living room, pop on the TV for the kiddos, and open your laptop.

You’re “working from home” and this. is. the. life!

Ahhh!

Haha, gotcha. That’s not how it works.

Working from home sounds like a great idea, especially for moms. Mostly because it sounds like a great solution for a family that needs two incomes and can’t afford childcare.

But let me tell you, working from home with even one child (never mind two or more) is so overwhelming. And the mom guilt is just as awful. It doesn’t go away just because you’re at home. You still can’t spend all your time with your kids.

I’m home with my daughter two days a week. I get to see her and cuddle her, but I also have to ignore her and tell her to stop trying to play with me so I can get my work done. It sucks. Luckily my mom is there to play with her and keep her entertained. But I want to take care of my kids myself, not watch someone else do it.

I’d much rather not work at all, but it’s just not realistic for our family so I balance as best as I can.

Work-from-home jobs might sound like a great solution, but let me give you 11 truths to consider before you start looking for a work-from-home job…

1.) Having to Answer the Phone

You may still have to answer a phone and it’s nearly impossible to get a two-year-old to be quiet on demand. Or any child for that matter… or even a pet. If you’re looking for a work-from-home job and plan on having your children or pets around, you’ll have to make sure it’s not a position that requires answering a phone, ever.

2.) Actual Working Hours

Just because you don’t have to be in an office, doesn’t mean you have less than eight hours of work to do. It’s impossible to do eight hours worth of work while also paying attention to your kids; getting snacks, going to the potty, making lunch, getting more snacks, keeping everyone out of trouble! It’s like trying to do two jobs at once. It’s just not possible.

3.) Your Time Will Be Tracked

Many full-time or salaried positions that allow remote work have some kind of time tracking system so your hours really aren’t as flexible as you might think. Working from home doesn’t mean you can work alternative or sporadic hours. Most companies expect standard 9AM-5PM.

4.) Taking Sick or Personal Time

Most companies are typically not as sympathetic to sick days or last-minute personal days. There’s a perception that working from home makes things easier when you’re sick or need to do something during the day. They expect that you can just work from your laptop in bed. No sick day needed. Or you don’t need a whole personal day to see your kid’s chorus concert, just use your lunch hour (which means you’ll end up working later trying to make up for any time you went over your lunch hour.)

5.) The Structure of Your Day is Up to You

You might forget to get dressed, or shower, or brush your teeth for like two days. It’s actually not as easy to structure your day when you’re working from home as it is when you have to go into an office. I think it’s important to still “get ready” for work when you work from home but some days, you just don’t feel like it, which is actually one of the benefits of being at home. But because of this, you might find yourself in PJs for two straight days.

6.) It’s Really Hard to Shut Off

Shutting off is not easy when all of your work stuff is right there. Especially if you work from your couch or kitchen table. Really, unless you have an office door you can close (and even then, still hard), it’s tough to stop working. There will be a time when you’ll want to go back and finish something right after dinner, but then you end up working three more hours and before you know it, it’s 9PM.  

7.) There are so Many Distractions

Getting distracted at home is super easy. The laundry is right there, there are three dishes in the sink it’ll take two minutes. The dog just got sick. It’s sunny out, the kids want to blow bubbles.

Distractions are everywhere. You really have to be disciplined and keep your focus. Otherwise, your work product will suffer or you’ll end up working a lot more hours than you really need to.

8.) There’s No Extra Quality Time with the Kids

You won’t feel like you have any more time with your children than when you worked on site. And the truth is you won’t. It’s not quality time spent. You’re basically just in their presence but still busy, still distracted, still unable to play. And if you do take breaks to play with them, you have to make that time up later at night or on the weekend.

9.) The Perception of Work-From-Home Jobs  

Most people will assume you’re free for lunch, or can easily take a personal phone call, or that you can do them a quick favor, etc. Because you’re home, it’s assumed that you’re less busy that people who work in an office, or you can leave whenever you want to. Most people don’t realize that you’re just as bound by your in-home job as someone who is on location.

10.) Advancing Your Career

Working from home can have an impact on the advancement of your career. Advancing might not be as likely compared to on-site workers because when you work from home, you’re not visible to higher-ups. You may not be able to develop the same connection as someone who is in office and can chat with them on break or have lunch together. Connecting with your bosses face to face can have a positive impact on your career and if you’re working from home, you probably won’t see your boss very often.  

11.) There’s No Extra Time & Not Many Benefits

Working from home sounds good on the surface but honestly, it’s not that different than working on-site. And if your kids are around, it’s almost impossible to be really productive so you actually end up working more hours of the day to make up for time lost.

If your goal is to spend more quality time with your kids and you can’t stop working, consider going part-time or possibly starting your own business.

Working from home for a company is just like any other job, minus the commute. There is no extra time and really, not many benefits.

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