There’s a sense of belonging that comes with reporting to work each day. Whether it’s an office, industrial plant or community center, when you get up in the morning, have your breakfast and head to work, you feel like you’re a part of a team. At least I feel this way. Sometimes the team spirit is lost among those who work from home. There, you’re a team of one.
I would often hear about the many perks that come with working from home. Positive aspects of not working in an office include being your own boss, having the freedom to set your own schedule, being able to get the laundry done during the lunch hour and more time with family. I would add another benefit: not having to worry about what you will wear to work each day. This is a great perk in my opinion. No one will see you so if you decide to match Monday’s black pants with a new shirt on Wednesday, no one will notice. Priceless. The catch though is you start to work in sweats and jeans because no one is there to make sure a dress code is met. After all, you’re in your home.
These all seem like good perks on the surface. All provide a sense of freedom. They are nice benefits but there’s always the other side to consider. While I don’t mind being able to take care of housework while I wait for sources to call me back, what happens when that source decides to call back while I’m in the laundry room where there’s no house phone? If I was in an office at a desk as I waited for the call back, then we wouldn’t have missed each other. This is just how I think.
While I’ve heard of the perks to working from home, I have also heard people say, “I could never work from home. I wouldn’t get anything done. Too many distractions.” I see where these people are coming from. I’ve been working at home, outside of an office for about a year now. It was a transition then and it still is sometimes. I have gone from being able to walk a few feet away to ask my supervisor a question to questioning whether a phone call or an email is appropriate to ask a question. While email is great, many people are not tied to their computers. So, I can send an email to pose a question but I also have to prepare to wait for a response. If my editor or supervisor was standing a few feet away, the response would be immediate.
I will admit there are distractions in an office. Phones ringing, random questions or other things that might pull away your attention. An inevitable one is side conversations with your co-workers. They want to know how your weekend was and you want to know how their child’s birthday party during the weekend turned out. Distractions are everywhere, but it just seems like there’s more room for distraction at home. Home is a place where we relax and unwind. Naps during the 30-minute lunch break are not really a good idea unless you have an internal alarm clock. I learned that the hard way. A nap turned into deep sleep that resulted in me waking up the next day versus a few minutes. If I was at an office, a nap would not be an option for a lunch break.
The vibe is different when working at home. Yes, if I wanted to, I could take my laptop to a library or coffee shop and create an office there. I’ve tried it. It’s nice to be able to grab a hot chocolate and return to writing. If it’s a busy time of day and you’re interviewing someone by phone at the local coffee shop, I miss the office atmosphere a little more. Sometimes the freedom that comes with working from home comes with a cost.