Top 5 Ways That Working From Home Has A Dark Side
Ah, the dream! To do what you love from the comfort of your home. Sounds perfect right? If you said yes, then I’d say you’re correct, for the most part. Except for those times when it isn’t perfect. I’ve worked from home for over 5 years now, and I admit doing difficult tasks while in my pj’s sporting bedhead is pretty amazing. But, just like everything that sounds too good to be true, this is no exception. There’s a dark side to this paradise. One that creeps up slowly, while you’re slapping brilliant ideas into your crumb-covered keyboard. Darkness is slowly moving towards you like a zombie hungry for your brains. To help you avoid being an unsuspecting victim I’ve compiled a list of the top 5 ways that working from home reveals a dark side.
5. Since You’re Home, You’re Available
For some unknown reason, people assume that since you’re at home and not commuting back and forth to an office, you’re day consists of mostly free time. You’ll be situated at your desk, in an office that you’ve designated for office hours, with a look that says you’re either hyper-focused or mentally insane, and it happens. Sometimes it’s your kid or spouse demanding you to divert your attention away from that spreadsheet. Other times it’s your mother-in-law who just doesn’t understand why you’ve not done that thing she needs you to do since you’ve obviously had all day to do it. Either way, laying down the law about your work hours and times when you’re not to be disturbed, is a must.
4. Time To Close Up Shop
I remember when I was working for the man and would check the clock every hour. Sadness overwhelming me as I realized it had been four seconds since I’d last looked. Working from home is slow time’s evil twin.. You wake up, get the family out of the house, and start checking emails. By the time you have your tasks shaved down to the few that can possibly wait, your kids are coming through the door. You have no idea how it is 5:30 already and there is so much to do. You will be blown away by how often you work until midnight. You’ve missed any time with your family and you’re exhausted. Not only does this eliminate any chance of maintaining sanity, but it also sets an unreasonable expectation to your clients that your always available. Believe me, this takes its toll eventually so, shut it down. tomorrow is a new day.
3. Me: “Do You Have Any Ideas?” Also Me: “No, Sorry I’m Fresh Out”
We all admit to talking to ourselves occasionally. It’s actually quite healthy for problem-solving I hear. But, when your staff meeting is you alone for months and years at a time, fresh ideas start to become stale. Working with opinionated professionals has its challenges, I get it. Nevertheless, new concepts come from these challenging co-workers. When you decide to try a new marketing strategy, and Susan from Accounting isn’t there to tell you why the idea is flawed, embarrassing things can happen. Every idea we conjure up isn’t necessarily a great idea, so getting valuable feedback can be our only barrier of defense between ourselves and the boulevard of regrets. My advice, join a social media group or forum that specializes in your field. You’ll find like-minded people who will become a valuable resource for keeping up with your industry and getting honest insight. I hear these groups also meet in person sometimes. I know! Weird, right?
2. Who Do You Think You Are?
This dark beast deserves its prestigious spot at number two. I’m talking about the difference between who we are at work, and who we are at home. On the way to work, we get into a professional mode. We get to the office and keep our swear words to an under-our-breath volume all day, eat with utensils, and join in on meetings where we contribute. On the way home, we start to unwind and transform into the “other” person. This person is a bit more relaxed and knows that eating pizza with a fork is ridiculous. It may be fair to say, a transformation happens. That transformation, in part, is due to physical distance from your work-space and co-workers. Since working from home means never really leaving work physically, we have to create that separation ourselves.
1. Do I Know You?
Number one on this list consists of two parts. The first is all about the dress code. Dressing professionally is what makes us feel the part. For example, if you are a Lawyer, but dress like a Pilot, you wouldn’t feel much like a Lawyer. Also, knowing we look great builds our confidence, which leads to better work performance. Working from home may sound like the easiest way to justify wearing yoga pants every day. The issue with this is how you feel about yourself over time. Not maintaining outer appearances takes a toll on our self-esteem, which also leads me to part two. Waking up and heading straight to your laptop. Skipping your shower, throwing your hair in a ponytail could mean losing all motivation to leave the house. This can lead to feeling isolated and even less confident in yourself. So, getting dressed, just to stay at home is never a waste of time.