When I was a reporter at the now defunct Honolulu Advertiser, I spend the last years working from home.
And, let me tell you, it wasn’t as easy as it sounded.
As soon as I woke up — which is often 4:45 a.m. — I was checking e-mail and leaving voicemail messages. After surfing, I would get home — around 8 a.m. — and resume working. The computer, then stationed right in the living room, would be staring at me. My company-issued cell phone would be ringing. I couldn’t get away.
In a lot of ways, working from home is awesome. You can do your laundry and cook dinner while on the clock. You can wear pajamas for five days straight. And you don’t have to eat lunch out every day. The perks are great.
But there are downsides a lot of people who work in cubicles don’t realize.
You work ALL. THE. TIME.
I started my day when I woke up and ended my day in bed. My editor used to check in every hour, maybe to make sure I was working. And there were no boundaries at home. My work lived there, too, and that was hard. (See this hilarious comic strip about working at home.)
The bulk of my work — freelancing — is done at home. (I still teach in a physical space.) And I’ve had to learn how to make that work. I moved the computer to the back room and set fairly strict times when I’m working and when I’m not. It’s not easy, I’ll be honest, since all I feel like doing is turning my computer and working. But I would burn out if I didn’t create boundaries.
I can see why freelancers leave their homes to work in coffices. It makes sense. You aren’t distracted by the laundry piles or barking dogs or “Days of Our Lives.”
I miss interacting with people, talking about last night’s “The Voice,” sharing meals. I miss access to copier and fax machines. And I really miss the free office supplies.
But to me, the difficulty of working at home outweighs the convenience of working in an office.
Gotta run. Dryer is done.