Working from home seems like a “dream come true” for those who have never been able to do it. Yet for those who are able to make the “dream” come true, working from home, especially if one is a parent, has also found that it is not what it is.
There are so many scenarios that could fit into this scheme. So let’s start with mine. As a virtual assistant, it’s up to me when I work. My clients have found that my working hours are definitely not typical, and sometimes, yes, I burn the midnight oil to complete their tasks.
The advantages of being in this scenario?
- I have the privilege of seeing my children every day before and at school.
- I am able to play taxi when needed.
- I do not miss any of the activities that my children participate in.
- No commuting to work.
The inconvenients ?
- Sometimes I get up well before dawn and finally go to bed well after midnight.
- Vehicle costs may be higher than others.
- Definitely pass by more groceries.
- Kids poke their heads around on virtual calls (or in my case, while recording my guest spot on a podcast, a kid ran around in a towel; however, I’ll add that it got me a guest spot on another podcast).
- There are times when lack of focus sets in.
- No “me time” in the car.
Would I change things? Certainly not, but some days my mind wonders what it would be like to just walk into an office and get back to work. Needless to say, being in this scenario doesn’t come without its challenges.
Another scenario for those who work from home are people who are not self-employed. A friend, Cheryl, fits this scenario, so I asked her if she set boundaries with her friends and family, or if anyone in those groups had different expectations of her since she also works from home. . Now, Cheryl is a strong woman who can “get by” so to speak, so I don’t know why I was surprised by her answers to my questions.
With as much confidence as a lioness protecting her cub, she said: ‘I’ve made it clear that even though I work where I live, everyone has the same responsibilities, whether indoors or outdoors. ‘outside. We all live here.
As for having to set boundaries with those who aren’t home, Cheryl shared that it’s never been an issue.
For some, working from home can be more of a distraction than anything else. It takes a lot of willpower to ignore the dishes from the day before, the laundry that has piled up and the time spent having fun on social networks.
My daughter who works in a psychology office as an office manager has the option of working from home when she doesn’t have daycare or is sick. For her, working from home can be a nightmare. Providing good customer service isn’t easy with an active 3 year old boy in the background who can’t find his monster trucks or is hungry…again.
So, for those who think working from home could eliminate child care costs, a reality check (based on your child’s age and needs) may be in order.
If you’re an extrovert who enjoys conversations over water coolers and lunch breaks with co-workers, you might also need a reality check. Infants, children and teenagers do not replace the time you need with your colleagues. No matter how hard you try, they won’t join you for a coffee break to talk shop.
Essentially, if you are offered the option to work from home, take a look at all the factors surrounding it. As much as you want to shout “Yes” out loud, take a step back and make sure it’s the right thing for you.
Kristen Asleson is the owner of Midwest Virtual Assistants. Send your comments and ideas to