I really love working from home. I don’t have to worry about getting dressed up every day or buying work clothes. I save a ton of time and money by not having to commute. Instead of a tiny desk and sitting in a communal cubicle with six other people, I have ample space…and privacy…in my very own office. I get dog kisses whenever I want them. I don’t have to take a day off to let workers into the house or accept deliveries. And I have not gotten a cold or the flu once since I stopped taking public transportation.
Of course, there are a few downsides, too. Sometimes I miss the social aspect of being in an office. I usually go all day without seeing another person and, if J is traveling, sometimes it’s two or three days. I do talk to people on the phone, but it’s not really the same. And it’s really easy to spend the entire day in my pajamas or my workout clothes, which is a bad habit of mine. There’s also the fact that I don’t ever really get to leave work and go home for the day. Yes, I turn off my computer in the evening and I go downstairs…but work is always right there, just up the stairs, waiting for me and sometimes it’s hard for me to just leave it.
All of that is manageable and the good certainly outweighs the bad. But there is something about working from home that I absolutely hate…and that is the perception that other people have that working from home means “working” from home. You see, some people seem to be under the impression that I don’t actually work all day. They think that I just hang around and watch TV and nap while answering the occasional email. They assume I’m free to do them favors or go out to lunch or sit on the phone and chat for hours. They make snide comments about me not working very hard or being a slacker. This kind of thing drives me crazy.
So let me set the record straight. I work…all day long. Sometimes, too long. I have people who I report to who expect my work to get done. I have to be accountable for 40+ billable hours a week and submit a time sheet to prove it. I have deadlines to meet and clients to talk to and phone calls to answer. I also have meetings to attend (virtually, of course) and continuing education seminars and mentoring sessions with the staff.
It’s true that I take the dogs for a walk around 9:30 every morning. I also take an hour for lunch at 2 so I can watch Who Wants to be a Millionaire and afternoon Jeopardy. Sometimes, I spend the entire day in my pajamas or my workout clothes. Sometimes, I take a shower and just put new pajamas on. And yes…one day I took a nap in the middle of the afternoon, but it was the second day of my detox diet and I had zero energy and a raging headache that did not go away even after two Aleve. Also…that only happened one time and I worked until almost 8 that night to make up for it.
As I’m sure you can imagine, J is the biggest offender when it comes to this. On October 15th (my tax filing deadline) I was in the middle of a crisis with a client and he called me to come outside and help him change the oil in his truck…something he assured me would take “just two minutes”. I don’t know if you’ve ever changed the oil in a car or truck, but I assure you…it takes longer than two minutes. Another day, he asked me to cook with him in the middle of the afternoon. And at least two or three times a week, he has some job for me to do or some phone call for me to make or something for me to take care of while I’m trying to get work done.
So I’m making a request…on behalf of everyone out there who works from home…please understand that our jobs are just as important and just as busy and just as real as yours. Don’t assume that we are goofing off all day or that we somehow don’t work as hard. Keep your snide little comments to yourself. After all…we know that you are just jealous.