I’m lucky enough to work from home one day a week.
It really takes the pressure off when I need a handyman to stop by the house, collecting something from our local post office or doing a load of washing in my lunch hour. I also use what is normally my travel time to make it to the gym. This all makes me terribly productive while Miss Nearly Three plays in the sandpit at day care down the road and without an afternoon commute, we have an extra hour in the evenings together.
On the odd occasion when I’ve tried to work from home with Miss Nearly Three in the house, it has been an unmitigated disaster. I can’t speak on the phone without a demanding toddler interrupting me. I feel unprofessional and am constantly apologising to colleagues for the background noise. I know I am less efficient and feel guilty that I am using work time so unproductively. I then try and rectify this by working into the evening, and through lunchtimes to make up the time, but it is a vicious, unhappy cycle.
If I focus on the work and bribe Miss Nearly Three with extra episodes of Peppa Pig just to be quiet, then my ‘Mummy self’ feels awful because I’ve just plonked her in front of TV and turned her into a zombie. It often seems like a no win situation.
This is partly the reason I love my days in the office. They allow me to wear nice clothes, have adult conversation and get the more engaging part of my work done. Unfortunately, not every job can be done from home and even when they can, not every boss is supportive.
Workingmother.com has listed 15 surprising work from home jobs. It even claims a chef and a CEO can work from home. I’m a bit skeptical about the practicality of this and think maybe they are giving us false hope. I also think ‘face time’ is important in lots of jobs as it helps build team work and shared understanding of what needs to be done, I think it makes me understand my organization better and learn more about the work of others. Even if I am not working directly with many of my colleagues, the casual chats in the kitchen help me get better at promoting our work, which is a handy benefit in PR!
Do you work from home? What do you think works about it? What doesn’t work? Do you think employers get ripped off? Any suggestions to help me be more productive?