Working from home – the ugly truth

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Appearance of actual person working from home may vary*

Hi Frog-Lovers. In case this is your first visit to the Lily Pad, between now and Christmas I’m hosting some wonderful and funny writers while I get some amphibious rest. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I do. Who knew so many of you were so hilarious!?

Today’s guest is the gorgeous Lana Hirschowitz from Sharpest Pencil. Lana and I share a lot in common, not least of which is the questionable joy and doubtful privilege of working from home. Here she shares the ugly truth about the experience.

There is a conspiracy, I am sure of it.  Thousands of people all around the world are working from home, in fact the 2013 Regus Global Economic Indicator reveals that 64% of Australian business leaders manage someone who works remotely for at least some of the time. And that’s not counting the people who are working for themselves. Yet nobody is telling the truth.

There are manuals and blog posts, webinars and courses outlining what you need to know about working from home.   I’ve read so many of them and I’ve discovered that none of them tell the truth. Not until now.

You see I have recently given up an office job to go back to working from home but, unlike the blumph I have read, I am willing to share the real truth about what happens when you work where you live:

  1. Some people think working from home is code for “not working that hard”. You will soon start to see red when you hear this, you may also feel the need to inflict bodily pain. But you can’t because you won’t even have a free moment for pain infliction.
  2. You will be inundated with calls from charities. There is a distinct possibility that you end up donating more than you actually earn.
  3. You run a very good chance of forgetting that people don’t actually wear slippers out of the house.
  4. Further to point 3 above, even though you won’t always feel like it you should get dressed and brush your teeth as soon as you wake up. It’s easier to forget later in the day and picking up the kids in pajamas with a cappuccino moustache will only serve to worry the other parents.
  5. You will eat everything in your fridge. Once the fridge is empty you will move on to the entire contents of the cupboard. The only way to avoid this is to only stock food that you are allergic to.
  6. When you go to the shop the person behind the counter will inevitably ask if you are having a day off. You will immediately feel bad that you stepped out of the house with no regard to the fact that if you were in an office and you left to go to the shop, you would feel nothing about it at all.
  7. You will be tempted to do all the house-work instead of working. Don’t worry about that – this will pass very quickly.
  8. Daytime TV. You have been warned.
  9. There are days that you will feel like you have achieved nothing at all. Just remember that you started out in your bed and you are no longer there so that’s something. Unless of course you work from bed.
  10. There is a tendency to think that you will be lonely without other people in an office. Remember that these concerns first saw the light of day in in the time before Twitter. In fact you will never be lonely if you have an internet connection, you will also never get any work done.
  11. If you do want to see other people try the Medicare queue, that way you will get to form meaningful bonds with people in a work environment. That’s how long you will spend in the queue.
  12. During school holidays your friends will confuse you for an occasional day care centre. If you can work with ten kids screaming at your desk you will be fine with this.
  13. If you plan carefully you can sneak in naps. Just be prepared to work all night to make up for it (which kind of defeats the purpose).
  14. The sound of the washing machine will become such a constant companion that sometimes you will find it hard to work if it is not on. The plus side of this is if you are indeed running a laundry service from home.

Anything else you’ve learned from working at home?

Any questions you want to ask before you make the move?

lana head shotLana Hirschowitz is a writer, blogger and social media consultant. She was the launch editor of iVillage in Australia and Managing Editor of Mamamia (Australia’s largest independent female website) for over three years. She’s also a lover of toast, her family and Candy Crush, but not necessarily in that order. You can find her blog at Sharpest Pencil or follow her on Twitter @lanahirschowitz and on Facebook at SharpestPencilOnline. Go say hi – tell her the Frog sent you.

* Is it just me, or does this woman who works from home look a little too pleased that her screen isn’t turned on? Either that or she’s about to fart. Personally with that desk arrangement I’d be likely to try to drink my plant and water my coffee. That plant looks spikey. Working from home is dangerous, people.

Comments

  1. I’ve thought about this & even considered it, for about 1 second, till something kicked into gear. If ever it did happen to me, I think I would have to try & follow the rule of going into my office at 8.00am & then shutting & even locking the door at 4.30pm. My worry is that I would think, oh I’ll just peel the spuds etc & end up doing housework, cooking etc & not working. Not a good idea for the likes of me.

  2. Hahaha. It’s all true. Why don’t they write this stuff in the ‘how to work from home books!’

  3. I must investigate this “working from bed” proposition. It sounds like my kind of thing.

  4. And after the fridge and the cupboard, there’s always your children’s Halloween stash. Not that I’ve done anything like that before…

  5. Even having read this, I can’t wait to make the switch!

  6. I am studying online and I feel this applies to me too…it takes way more discipline to stay at my desk than in an office..

  7. I personally appreciate the fact you did NOT illustrate this with one of those stupid photos showing a woman sitting cross legged on her couch in jeans and bare feet, with laptop on lap!

  8. thisiswellbeing says:

    I work from home as a consultant and a lot of this rang very true with me! I am amazed at how much work I actually get done,but I’m terrible for not stopping. I work til 11pm most nights (I get paid per report I do, so its easy to keep going). I actually really love it. I hated office politics and much prefer the company of my dogs all day. I have plenty of friends online or on the end of the phone if I need to have a conversation.

  9. Ahh yes working from home – I have to smash out about 20 editorials a week and only have two days without children under foot, so have to squeeze in where possible!!! I get sick of everyone saying how lucky I am, I admit it is fortunate I don’t have to dress nicely every day but it means I am also devoid of adult contact for most of the week – and the biggest thrill is school pick up – SAD huh! And yes yes to eating all the crap in the pantry – arghhhhhhhhh

  10. Thanks so much for guesting, darling! xxx

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