I’m very thankful to work remotely for a great company, and there are definite advantages in working from home. But, it’s just like any relationship. The advantages can eventually become the disadvantages.
It’s the little things that drive you crazy… like the fact that you can’t control when people mow their lawn, or when a loud truck drives by your house. It can be disastrous if someone knocks when you are on the phone, so my dogs go in a closed room faaaar from the desk and a sign goes on the door when I have important conference calls.
Working over telephones, it’s hard to tell when the speaker is finished or someone new is going to pipe up, so there is the frequent unintended interruption of your colleagues. You also have to work a little harder at interpreting meaning since you can’t see facial expressions.
You learn to not have overnight guests during the week since most people don’t really get what it means to ‘work from home’. They bang kitchen cabinets, get ice from the dispenser, and walk into the room talking all the while risking your professionalism. They don’t mean to cause trouble; they just haven’t experienced working for a paycheck from home.
The obvious differences are not having to dress professionally and the lack of office socialization. Working in an office brought some of the best relationships I’ll ever have. My girlfriends from work have shared many tear-producing laughing spells and gotten me through many crises. I miss them. I have to try a little harder to get my regular dose of friends.
It is true that I don’t spend as much money on clothes, shoes, and jewelry as I did when I worked in an office. The result is that now I never have the right clothes to wear, anywhere. You see, I hate to shop. Needing to shop for work clothes got me in the stores, and then I bought all kinds of clothes and shoes. Now, I just keep putting it off and will eventually be that oddly-dressed lady who generates chuckles.
Wearing comfortable clothes while working brought its own harsh reality when I put on ‘real’ clothes a few weeks after starting the remote job. It’s harder to notice that you are gaining weight. I couldn’t believe it until I started realizing that I didn’t walk from the parking garage to the office anymore, from my desk to lunch, to meeting rooms, to the kitchen,…
It’ is great to avoid commuting in rush hour. But that evening-hour commute gave me opportunities to stop by the grocery store or the drug store. Now, it seems I’m perpetually out of the basics. In the old days, I would not venture out of the house without makeup applied and hair done at least a little. I no longer consider it worth the time to ‘get ready’ just to run to the store. So, I tend to put off going altogether or pretend I’m invisible and run into the store looking like an embarrassment to my younger self.
In the end, the biggest difference is freedom in where you live. I’m thankful to the now-friend who offered the original position to me. It allowed me to move back to the southeast. Now, I can have a casual weekend dinner with my Mother and Grandmother, and that’s the best advantage. Now, if I can just figure out what to wear…….