6 Things I’ve Learned After a Year of Working from Home
You guys, I’ve made it a full 13+ months of working from home full time! So I thought it was a good time to reflect back on everything and share what the whole experience has taught me…
- Working from home is an incredibly isolating experience. As I’ve mentioned before, this was a really difficult move for me. My whole world was turned up-side-down and I felt stuck inside our old apartment almost all of the time. I’ve said from the beginning that if we were still in Kansas City, working from home would be a breeze because my friend/family network is so close by that I would have never felt stuck or lonely. But being in a city with no real social network to speak of at first was very difficult for an obnoxious extrovert like me (just ask my incredibly introverted husband—there were days I thought he might kill me for focusing all of my social energy on him). The good news is that in the past five months or so, I’ve made some really lovely friends here in Des Moines, and I don’t feel nearly as isolated as I once did. I’m so grateful for that. And I actually don’t really feel isolated at all anymore, because I have so many opportunities to get out of the house and spend time with real people—as opposed to talking to my dogs all day…
- Creating a separate work space is really important. For eight of the past 13 months we lived in a 0-bedroom loft apartment where I REALLY struggled to separate my work space from our living space. But now that we have a house with actual rooms in it, I’ve been able to create an office where Chris and I can both have our own space for desks and all the accoutrement that comes with a home office. When I walk into that room, I feel like I can automatically switch to work mode, which is a welcome change from hating my office “space” in the apartment and often rejecting the desk to work from the couch surrounded by dogs.
- Bras are totally optional. This also applies to makeup, styling my hair, showers, shoes, pants not made for exercise/lounging purposes, etc. I mean, listen, I’m not saying I never wear a bra or make myself generally presentable anymore. I’m just saying that a person can get away with a severe lack of appearance-related shits given most days when nobody actually knows what they look like (except Chris when he’s in town, and frankly, he’s legally bound to me now, so deal with it, babe).
- If you’re going to work from home, you better love what you do. There are a lot of distractions when you work from home. On any given day I could be compelled to stop what I’m doing to watch TV, lay on the couch, do some laundry, clean the kitchen, make dinner, run an errand or play with the dogs. And don’t get me wrong, I will do these things sometimes if my workload allows it or I plan on making up that time in the evening or over the weekend. But the fact that I really do love what I do for a living, and that I respect my clients and coworkers makes it easier for me to not give in to those temptations. I truly do want to do great work every day, and that often requires giving my job my undivided attention.
- It’s actually not as amazing as you think it is. Those of us who work from home hear this a lot, “Ugh, I’m SO jealous. I wish I could work from home!” And I totally understand where these people are coming from, but I tend to respond with, “I mean yeah, it sounds amazing, but I promise it gets old…” Here’s why I say this:
- As a highly social person, being so disconnected from the people I work with day in and day out makes my job a lot harder in a lot of ways.
- Most days I feel unkempt.
- I am fairly certain my neighbors think I’m a stay-at-home dog mom and/or a serial killer.
- There’s a misconception that working from home is a leisurely endeavor, when in reality, most people I know who work from home are constantly busting their asses to prove that they’re working just as hard (and often harder) than their coworkers.
- Because my office is in my home, I struggle to walk away from my work. I work way more now than I ever did when I went into an office each day.
- I’m starting to love it. It’s been a rough year, but all things considered, I’m finally happy with my unique situation. Working from home is not for everyone, and I hope it’s not my forever situation. But right now I feel like I’ve adjusted to this lifestyle and feel highly successful doing what I’m doing. I’m super grateful that I have been given the opportunity to continue working for a great company and with people I really enjoy—even if I am three hours away from it all.