2020: The year that the world stopped.
Working in pyjamas with Netflix playing in the background? Sign me up!
This post comes at a time when most of us have had the experience of working from home, starting new hobbies and re-evaluating what our ‘normal’ will look like going forward. While I truly appreciate this experience, it goes without saying that being able to access my office systems in the cosy comfort of my pyjamas as not always as pleasant as would seem. For those of you that have seriously considered working from home, I have put together a few pros and cons experienced during my 5 month stint at home, half of which was spent with a busy toddler begging for attention. If you are considering making the switch from the typical office job to working from home, here are just a few observations I made from my own experience.
You can wake up later than usual
This one is most definitely a plus. Who wouldn’t want to spend an extra hour or two snuggled up in their cosy bedding? I personally used to wake up at 4:30 am to fit in my daily workout before having to rush out and brave the traffic. For those of you who value themselves enough to avoid such a painful schedule, traffic is most likely the pain factor here. Well, if you work from home, you have the flexibility to wake up as late as possible and quite literally roll right into your ‘office’.
You don’t need to spend time getting ready
Everyone’s job is different, but if you are considering working from home, then this most likely means that you had a desk job (I don’t quite see how you can be in construction from your kitchen table!). Most offices have both a dress code and hygiene standards that we need to adhere to, but the perk of being in your living room is that no one can tell if you showered, brushed your teeth or even changed your holey t-shirt. This is added time that can be used to sleep, watch an episode of your favourite TV show on Netflix or fit in a power workout.
Access to healthy food
This may be a double edged sword, because access to your fridge not only means that you have a vast selection of greens to pick from, but you also have an unlimited supply of food. When my husband does our groceries, I know that I will be snacking on biscuits and fruit. When I do the groceries, salads and fish become the go to. While it may sound exciting to be so close to your fridge, make sure that you stock it with healthy options and restrict yourself from mindless snacking otherwise this pro becomes a con.
You have the flexibility to determine your working hours
By show of hands, who actually works the full 9-5 (or in my case 8-5) without breaks? In the office it is quite easy to get more work done because you either have supervisors watching your every move, or you are just in a hurry to finish up and head home. Working from home provides more comfort in that you do not need to worry about ‘looking busy’ and work can be done as early or late as you like. Another perk is that there won’t be people speaking to you or adding extra tasks when it is ‘focus time’. As an introvert, this is a win!
Mid day workouts are a possibility
At the beginning of the pandemic, this was actually a thing… My peers and I were sticking to exercise routines because being at home magically added an extra four hours to the day. Well, six months in and all I can say is that exercise has become a chore. After all, we are all wearing baggy tees and sweatpants so the added weight doesn’t count, right? You’re probably wondering why I have put this in the pros section if I’m not actually doing it myself. The answer is simple; the option is there.
Working hours tend to be longer
We discussed the benefit of being able to make your own schedule, but this flexibility comes with a pinch of salt. Personally, I had never been one to bring work home pre-pandemic. There is something about leaving the office that provides a satisfactory breath of relief and allows for a change of mindset. When you work from home, your kitchen table, couch, bed (or toilet for those daring folks) become your office. This makes it almost impossible to switch from ‘work mode’ to ‘chill mode’. I have personally found that my working hours have now shifted to 7am – 8pm.
Your kids get in the way
As schools reopen, the likelihood of having kids around during your working hours is limited to the brave few who have chosen to continue with homeschooling. My little one has gone back thankfully, but with more babies in the pipeline, working from home is something that I need to consider carefully. If you have ever been locked up in a room with young kids then you know exactly what I mean when I say that you will be signing up for a second labour intense job to complement your desk job.
Please tell me that I am not the only one who struggles to focus for extended periods of time? Being at home has been rather difficult with all the gadgets and devices all around me. One thing I never truly appreciated about the office are the cleaners. Being at home has been a battle as the urge to put the dirty laundry in the machine, pick up after the kids, watch an episode or two of my favourite TV show have definitely become a problem. For this reason, I would recommend that anyone planning to work from home should have a proper schedule to avoid being led astray.
Unless you intentionally pencil in a slot for exercise, working from home will definitely add some fluff to your waistline. We all know that when you are in the office, dropping down into a squat wouldn’t be well received, so doing burpees is definitely not in the cards. What does happen in the office is the walk to the cafeteria, walking to meeting rooms, climbing up and down stairs when the elevator is full, the long walk to the common washrooms, etc. What makes being home worse for movement is the fact that we can create junk food fortresses in our cosy little corner, limiting our movement to the occasional bathroom break.
It can get lonely
As an introvert, this definitely does not apply to me. I actually get a little more face time with my colleagues than I would prefer with the gazillion video conference calls that have been set up to ensure that we don’t forget each others’ faces. That being said, I do recognise that some people thrive off their peers’ energy which makes working from home negative for their mental health. It is really important to identify where you sit on this spectrum, because in this current economy, switching jobs isn’t that easy!
One more thing!
Whether your work from the office or your home, please make sure that you cater for enough ‘sun time’. I’ve mentioned the importance of Vitamin D for our physical and mental health, so before making the decision to work from home, make sure that you are able to cover the basics and take the necessary breaks!
What are some of the things you have experienced when working from home?
In case you missed it, do check out The Rant of a Working Mom