The 5 pros and cons of working from home
Working from home is sometimes seen as the holy grail for working mums. Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely massive pluses. However, I’ve found, over the couple of months that there are a few negatives too. So I have jotted down the top 5 positive things there are to homeworking and just to give you a rounded picture of life…the top 5 negatives that sitting in your own home all day can bring.
Top 5 positives
1. No commute
I was quite lucky with my previous commute as I ‘only’ had to drive 20 minutes to my old workplace. However, the monotony of the same bypass, the same idiots cutting you up and the autopilot you go in to will not be missed. Putting my life into the hands of the Coventry ringroad (you’ll know if you’ve been there) twice a day will definitely not be missed, and the £25+ of petrol I was pouring into my car a week will add up quickly I’m sure.
Although I still have specific work hours, not having to commute gives me an hour extra a day I did not have before. What I am doing with this extra hour is still yet to be decided but The Organised Mum has been giving me some good ideas (see below about boundaries). I can also decide when I take my lunch. I have the opportunity to take the dog for a walk. Which could potentially save me £20 a week on dog walker fees. Being at home also means its easier to get to that random 10.30am assembly school decided to put on and just make up the hours in the week.
3. I can wear my pjs
Sadly I have not managed to do this yet, but the potential is there! I still have to get dressed to take Charlotte to school but I have changed into my ‘lazy’ clothes when I’ve got home more than once! Someone I know actually works in her bed but this may be hazardous for me as I would definitely drop off on multiple occasions! The negative of being in lazy clothes for most of your week means that you can feel like you’ve never actually properly got up…which ain’t great for the mental health I can tell you. That’s why I’ve started following @womenwhosparkle on Instagram and getting involved in #sparkleupthursdays.
4. No canteen food
I used to spend an inordinate amount of money a week on canteen food because I was too lazy to pack a lunch in the morning. The options of a mayo laden sandwich or an overcooked jacket potato never thrilled me but they were what were available despite the price tag. And don’t even get me started on the amount of coffee, chocolate and cake I bought to just get me through the day!
5. Saving money
Adding up my weekly spend whilst I was working in an office is quite frightening, considering I probably could have done a lot to limit the spending but the job and the juggling of life was quite often just too overwhelming to worry about the ‘little things’. The little things which often added up to a big number. Saving around £50-£70 a week is definitely nothing to be sniffed at and any extra money in the bank is very much welcomed!
Top 5 negatives
So I’m going to be 100% honest with you. Working from home can be fucking lonely. It is just you (and a dog who’s wondering why the hell you’re here ALL THE TIME now), your computer and 1000 cups of coffee. That shit can get old really quickly. I used to work in an open plan office of approximately 300 people so it has been a big change for me. I don’t know if you’d figured it out but I love to talk, and enjoy being around people so I have had to be more proactive in going out or inviting friends over in the evenings so I don’t go crazy. And apologies to all the playground mums I leap on at kicking out time with a look of manic desperation to talk to people in my eyes!
2. Higher energy bills
My house is pretty damn crap at keeping any heat in. Those 1920’s concrete walls were not designed with efficiency in mind. Even with a new boiler and all the woolly socks you can throw at me it can get pretty damn cold…especially since we have not yet seen any sign of spring! Because of this the heating is often on whilst I’m in the house and/or I look like an Eskimo with jumpers and blankets layered on me. I’ve also noticed, because of this, that I am constantly de-hydrated so have massively upped my water intake to try and counteract this.
3. Eating all the food
I am currently working at my dining table as the transformation of my ‘spare room’ (read – the room all the crap got put in) to an office has been a bit slower than expected. This means, thanks to my lovely new kitchen/diner, that I am close to food…all the time. So what with the cold and the slight monotony, and the proximity to anything edible, I am eating far more than necessary. I’m attempting to stick with fruit and nuts but sometimes only a biscuit or three will do. Wfh also means I have to be better at planning the week’s food so I have something for lunch available, although I have been known to treat myself to deli sandwich from town on my lunch break every now an again.
Please don’t get me wrong, I bloody love my new job. I’m now in the field I’ve been trying to get into for ages and my colleagues are great. The work is interesting and varied and I’m learning so much on a daily basis. However…when you’re sat on your own it can be quite difficult to get yourself up and running. Social media is a time zapper of mine so I have removed my personal phone from my work space which has helped. But I do feel a little like my ‘mojo’ (whatever that is), has ebbed away a little bit and that does need addressing. How? I’m not quite sure, but I’m trying a few things out at the mo and will keep you posted.
One of the things I hear from mums who want to or sporadically work from home is ‘and I can just get a load of washing on’. I used to say it to. But when you’re working from home all the time and actually busy all the time there is no time to just pop and put a load on. In fact, working from home can be more frustrating on the housework front I’ve found. As I’m currently working at the dining room I get to look at my washing up all the time. Or I realise that the living room needs vacuuming on a bi-hourly basis. But yet I still seem to have no time to do these chores. Boundaries are more tricky to define when wfh as there’s not the ‘leaving work’ to switch your brain from one job to another, so I have been working until I need to pick up Charlotte, even when I actually had half an hour I could have taken at the end of the day to clean house. This has to change too.
It’s not all bad though, I promise.
Obviously there is a big difference between working from home ‘full time’ and ‘part time’ homeworking. You can break up some of the monotony. There also must be a big a difference between being ‘self employed and working from home’ and ‘working for a company where your office just happens to be at home’, as your drivers and motivation will be different. But for goodness sake don’t get me wrong! My new job has been such a positive change for me and my household! The changes in my overall mental health, especially my anxiety have been massively positive and Charlotte is obviously bouncing off these better vibes too. Even the confused dog is getting used to being fed earlier and getting out for a good walk most days.
It’s just that every now and again, working from home can suck.
Do you work from home? If so, what are your tips and tricks to dealing with the boredom/loneliness/binge eating? Let me know them in the comments please!