Your children are grown. Your house is nice and quiet.
So, when your boss offers you the opportunity to work from home, you want to jump on it, right? What could be more ideal? No traffic. No one looking over your shoulder. No dressing to impress co-workers. No make-up. No problem.
Well, as one who has worked from home on an off for years, let me go over the pros and cons with you before you make that all important decision.
Working from home does have many benefits. The most obvious one being able to sleep until the last possible second and still log-in on time.
No matter the square footage of your house, getting to your office should be quite easy. You shouldn’t encounter any traffic through your living room, and your hallway should be smooth sailing. For those of you not living alone, you might experience the occasional ‘husband/partner/roommate/holdup’ at the point where your kitchen merges into your office. But you can swerve around this obstacle with a quick smile and promise to catch up later in the day.
Another obvious perk involves your attire. You can work in whatever you’ve slept in. Unless of course, your boss has installed a Skype camera. If you have a say in this matter, it’s most beneficial to vote no, unless you harbor the exhibitionist gene, in which case, you probably wouldn’t accept the ‘working-from-home’ offer in the first place.
A further perk is that you can sneak in some personal e-mails and web surfing throughout the day – although, you’re really not sneaking because no one is watching.
This is all very well and good and makes working from home seem quite appealing.
But there is a down side which you really need to consider before accepting this opportunity.
First, there is no face-to-face contact while on your breaks. You can chat with the photos of family and friends that you have plastered on your refrigerator. And because you don’t get any disagreeable answers from them, this may sit well with you at first. But after a time, you start to long for those inter-office dialogues – especially those which end in heated arguments and threats to report insignificant behavior to the Human Resources Department.
Which leads into my next point. With no one to talk to, you’re completely devoid of company gossip. You know, that juicy data that floats around from department to department and finally lands on the subject’s desk taken completely out of context. But whether you want to admit it or not, gossip adds a little spice to the day and makes those boring tasks a little more bearable. When you work from home, you may end up talking to yourself. But gossiping to yourself about yourself, well, that could be grounds for psychiatric help.
And don’t forget the other social aspects. Or lack thereof. There are no cute men to flirt with (whether married or not, women do like to flirt) and no UPS or Fedex delivery guy to star in your next sex fantasy. Although most companies frown on employees dating each other, it happens all the time. So, for single women looking for an office romance, working alone may not be an attractive option.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, there is no co-worker to share a drink with at Happy Hour. You can meet yourself out on the patio for a cocktail, but that can be a bit boring since you’ve been with yourself all day.
In the end, you must weigh the good against the bad.
In my case, I’ve decided that despite some of the lonely hours, I’m too accustomed to working alone, without constant supervision. And although I do get a bit lonely, I’ve decided that I am pretty good company.
So, if you’ll excuse me, I had better get back to work. I hear myself calling.