If you’ve made the transition from office worker to freelance professional, give yourself a pat on the back. At HomeWorkingClub we love the increased productivity and quality of life that this set-up provides, which is why we encourage more to join the home working revolution.
BUT if you’re like me, and you’ve been doing this for quite a number of years, you will by now have realised that things aren’t always as “dreamy” as you thought they may be.
Yes, every day is “casual Friday;” You avoid that awful commute and skip many unnecessary meetings. However, other (less desirable) realities of working from home can also set in.
Some are in the form of pitfalls which hopefully you can learn how to avoid; Others are little quirks that come with the “freedom”. These sometimes cause me to chuckle or shake my head at the stark contrasts with working in an office.
Check out the list below and let us know in the comments if you can relate. We’ll even forgive you if some of it makes you slightly miss going to an office!
You get startled by your own voice
You realise you’ve just heard your own voice for the first time all day, but it’s already the evening.
It’s not unusual to go a whole day without uttering a word – making for a total lack of non-electronic human interaction. This can be a good thing, even meditative, but not when you have to answer a Skype call and sound like you just got out of bed. (Editors note: sometimes I’m still IN bed!)
Office parties are lonely
Well, when I say “office party,” I mean you and a bottle of wine.
Gone are the fun times of lavish office events or after-work sessions when everyone lets their hair down and you cheer as the bosses get drunk. As a freelancer, celebrating milestones and holidays just isn’t the same.
You don’t get sudden meetings or annoying officemates anymore. However, what you’ll often get in return is a housemate, spouse or child that will challenge your focus. Or, you may end up with the neighbours asking you for favours. They all feel they can bother you because hey, you’re at home! Looking at a screen surely can’t be real work?! So… do you mind running a little errand for them?
And speaking of errands…
I’ll get back to those emails after the hoovering… and maybe a quick steam-clean of the kitchen…
More distraction! Boy, that pile of dishes is really stacking up, and the laundry too. Have the plants been watered today? Is that a stain on the sofa?
One of the big realities of working from home is that it’s a lot harder to ignore household chores because technically you can do them. But quick tasks often turn into longer ones. Doing this kills your work momentum. It takes serious time and energy management to do both work and chores. So on days when you do manage both, congratulate yourself!
You’re not really any healthier!
You’re a freelancer, and the master of your time! This means you can go to the gym or go for a run everyday!
That’s cute. The truth is, a healthier lifestyle is not guaranteed when you work from home. As mentioned earlier, time management is key. If you slack off even just a little, you can easily lose a grip on the day. Schedules adjust and items drop down your “to do list.” Then you make up for lost work time – and before you know it, you haven’t put your gym shoes on in a week.
You ARE I.T.
I mean you are your own IT Department. When your website experiences some issues, or your computer is acting weird, you now have no choice but to Google it, find out how to fix it yourself, and pray you did the right thing. Don’t you wish you could still call that IT guy to come up?
(You’ll find a useful article on IT for freelancers here).
The cafeteria food is really inconsistent
Sometimes you make yourself a beautiful, healthy and Instagram-worthy dish. But sometimes it’s instant noodles.
Just like working out, you quickly realise that you don’t always have time for cooking, or even eating.
No clocking out
When you work from home, you blur the lines between work hours and non-work hours. In fact, it gets pretty tempting to keep working and earning even when you should be giving yourself a much-needed rest. It sure doesn’t help that your “office” is right there, in your laptop, by your bed.
You forget the outside world
Having no co-workers to invite you out to lunch or remind you that it’s time to hit the pub means it’s easier to get sucked into work and lose track of time.
On the rare days you get out for a quick bite or errand, you always ask yourself why you don’t go out more often. Then you get back to your house and get lost in work all over again.
Despite these realities of working from home, we still love it! When you find your groove, you quickly realise it’s one you’re comfortable staying in.
Denise Tolentino is a freelance writer, illustrator and graphic designer. She loves telling stories through images or words, usually from a place close to the ocean. She currently resides in Bali.