Posted on 12/01/2014 at 12:00 AM by Jeffrey Bruner

Working from home has been mythologized to make it sound like it's the Promised Land. Or Thoreau's Walden.

I think that's because many people have jobs that contain: (1) Rude co-workers (2) Incompetent supervisors (3) Greedy corporate offices that treat their employees as disposable or (4) all of the above. 


My last job had one (but not all) of those factors and I don't miss it. At all.

But there's been surprises, too. A lot of adjustments had to be made in the month since I left. Here's what I've discovered:

  • Flexible schedules are wonderful. You can run errands whenever you need, give the dogs an afternoon walk, or even take a nap. But you know what?
  • I work more hours than before. That's okay, too. I own my business and I'm working for myself and not someone else. I used to loathe reading company material that talked about "enhancing shareholder value," but there's a big difference when you're the sole shareholder. 
  • Home office environments can be whatever you want. You can crank up the stereo while you work or wear slippers all day. But you've got to stay on task or you're not going to be productive because ...
  • Home has its own set of distractions. In my house, it's four cats and two dogs. One of them is always wanting something. I pick and choose my battles. Yes, Agatha can take a nap on top of my computer, but no, Larry doesn't get a fresh bowl of water every 30 minutes. 
  • Home offices require ground rules. My wife works three days a week -- she's a nurse who works 12-hour shifts -- and she's home the other four days.  It took a day or two, but we figured out some good compromises like (A) She goes to the family room if she wants to talk on the phone or (B) I mostly close the door to the home office when I need to concentrate.
  • There's no vending machine ... or "dining desk." I'm not exactly eating healthy now, but there's less junk food in my life now that it's no longer convenient. Definitely a good thing -- otherwise I would have packed on 20 pounds in the past month.
  • You'll get lonely. That saying about "missing the people" is absolutely true. On the days when my wife works, it's just me, my computer and my pets. To avoid going stir crazy, I check social media a few times a day and try to meet a friend or old work colleague for lunch at least once a week. Whether you can adapt (and be productive) will likely be the biggest factor in whether working at home is right for you ...

What are some of your tips for working at home?

Comments
<p>The loneliness eventually subsides as drinking in solitude gains its own rhythm.&nbsp;</p>
Rob | 05/24/2018 at 02:32 AM
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