Working from home is amazing, but like any other job, it has its own unique challenges. Before I started this journey a few months ago, all I wanted to do was spend more time at home. I loved my coworkers, but I was physically exhausted and mentally drained most of the time from working 50-60 hours per week between two different jobs. This new position has opened up doors for me and my husband. We were able to move and he was able to start a new job he loves. More on that here and here.
But, like the rest of this world, working from home isn’t perfect. Many people talk about the freedom remote jobs offer and the possibility for travel, but no one talk about these things:
You will struggle to find a good work schedule.
If you work at a brick and mortar, you have a specific time to show up, meetings to attend, deadlines to make, a general lunchtime, and a time to leave. Working remotely means you make your own schedule. I still have deadlines to make, but they are days, not hours. I never realized until this opportunity that I heavily rely on schedules and routine to get me through the day.
Since I work at home, work is always near. At first, I had no boundaries. I could work all day, all night, and even on the weekends. Now, I do my best to work when my husband does, but I still find myself lagging behind in hours, struggling to meet deadlines, and working on the occasional Saturday.
The good news is, I’m slowly finding my routine. It can be difficult, especially because distractions lurk around every corner (literally…), but I did find one key to the schedule piece of the puzzle: Have a designated space to work. I occasionally work on the couch, but I’m lucky enough to have my own office. Our house has enough bedrooms where I can call one my own. If I need to, I can shoo people and dogs away because I’m at work. Setting specific times for myself to be in my office for the beginning of the day and after lunch, and a time when I should be leaving my office when my husband gets home (with a couple short breaks to walk the dogs, of course), helps form my schedule for me. I just have to be on time.
You will fight distractions every day.
Between laundry, dishes, and dogs, there are plenty of distractions around me. It’s easy to think I’ll do a load of laundry while I work on this project, but inevitably, it will separate my time and jumble my thoughts concerning my current project. These distractions separate me from my focus.
While I definitely do laundry while I work, I try to limit it for that reason. Just like having a schedule, it’s important to separate yourself from your house and focus on your office, your work.
You go through more toilet paper.
All jokes aside, you seriously go through more toilet paper, food, and beverages. My boss doesn’t randomly buy me lunch – he’s in Texas and that’d be rather odd. I don’t meet with my coworkers for a big potluck – I’ve never met them before. Since I’m always home, everything I use is something we bought and we go through groceries faster now more than ever.
You’re going to get lonely and it’s going to suck.
Working remotely is lonely. At one of my previous jobs, I shared an office with three other women and usually had lunch with a group of people. At the other, I worked with people and beside people, which means I was almost always talking, and when I wasn’t, I was catching up on other projects. Now that I work from home, I’m always alone.
Thankfully, my husband comes home for lunch most days, but otherwise my only other connection is with my dogs. To fight this, I visit the local library at least once a week and am working on becoming a part of the local writer’s group. We are also searching for the right church to attend, and often have friends and family visit us.
You’ll be more open to adventure.
As an introvert, I like my daily dose of people and then I like to curl up in my cave and read. Before, I would come home and not want to do anything, but my extrovert husband often had other plans. Now, I’m excited when people visit us and I’m more open to random adventures, which helps with the loneliness.
Working remotely from my home office has been an incredible journey. While some days are harder than others between the distractions and loneliness, I know that it’s a wonderful opportunity for where I am in my life, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Challenge: Share in the comments what your challenges are at work, whether you work at home, in an office, or something else.
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