I’m back from a trip to the Big Island of Hawaii, a birthday gift from me to my husband for his 50th birthday. Rich and I loved Hawaii – particularly the Kona region on my part, although Kohala comes in a close second. Aloha! Unfortunately, we’re not ready to retire and relocate there, so it’s back to the grind for us.
Today I am working at home in my “garage” office and finally couldn’t stand it any more. I had to write this post about the downsides to working at home. Why? Because my neighbor’s yard crew was here using every imaginable piece of landscaping machinery, seemingly right outside my door. It was driving me crazy!
So here are my challenges to working from home:
Noise Pollution. Nobody seems to do their own yard work anymore, or have any idea what a rake is, AND everybody hires a different yard company. That means that every day of the week there could be another yard crew with their noisy leaf blowers, riding mowers, and hedge trimmers. Additionally, the houses in my neighborhood have reached that terminal age where it is cheaper to tear them down and rebuild than to remodel, which brings the accompanying demolition and construction noise. Hydraulic nail guns are the worst!
Telemarking Phone Calls. The phone rings a lot more than I thought it would. So I ignore it. If it’s important they’ll leave a message, right?
My Pets Are Attention-Junkies. They think I’m here to give them unlimited attention. I often have “cat-in-lap” syndrome. Additionally, the dog has now unilaterally moved her walkie time up to about 4 pm (it used to be 7 or 8).
Home OfficeInvestments. I wanted my “office space” away from the rest of the house, so I moved into our former carport/garage. I repurposed an antique drop-leaf table we already owned to be my desk, but I did need a few other things. I bought a rolling office chair and chair mat. I don’t personally own my two work laptops, but I invested in a large apple monitor and external keyboard and mouse. A real limiting factor for the first few months was our internet. My space was just too far away from the WIFI so we had to get extenders to improve connectivity.
Lack of Boundary between Work and Home. This is kind of self-explanatory, but for me it is important to separate work space and work time from home life. That’s one reason my “office” is isolated from the rest of the house. Especially on days when the rest of the family might be home on holiday but I am working (no banking holidays for the self-employed!) I need to be able to “go to work” and have a quiet place to concentrate. On the flip side, when it is family time I want my work out of sight.
Distractions. It is very easy to want to multitask or otherwise get distracted by all other aspects of life and home.
It’s More Difficult to Interact and Connect with Co-workers. I contract for two clients. I have one company I work for only on Mondays, but until 18 months ago I was in the office everyday, 30 hours a week. I knew my co-workers and felt invested in them. That’s not the case anymore. I don’t know the newer employees and they don’t know me. With my friend Richard, whom I work for 4 days a week, we connect via Skype and meet in person about once every two weeks. I’ve known Richard for years and we worked together on the same team for a number of years, so this arrangement works very well.
There’s Always Food Around. It’s tempting to snack and at the same time really boring eating whatever is in the house.