When I began working from home my colleagues and friends were very curious to know the truth about working from home. They wanted to know what it was really like and my reasons for working from home.
I am asked a couple questions pretty regularly about working from home including do you wear PJ’s all day? Do you have a spotlessly clean house? What do you do all day? How did you find health insurance?
I completely understand the interest in knowing what it’s like to grow a career from home. And why people are curious about the reasons I work from home. If you are considering working from home, as your own boss or by staying with your current company, you might be wondering some of these same things.
To help you evaluate if working from home is a good fit for you I thought I’d answer some of the most common questions I’m asked.
1. Is your house spotlessly clean?
I like to compare this question to the idea people have that if they move to a new city their life will magically change. I think one of the biggest myths about transitioning to a work from home lifestyle is if you had a house full of clutter when you had a 9-5 office job you now will have an organized home because you spend more time there.
I’m one of those people that has always been challenged by clutter. And unfortunately working from home doesn’t magically make it better. It actually makes it worse!
If you are like me and have a desk full of piles, those piles and papers will still be there when you work from home if you aren’t diligent about changing your patterns. And since you are home many more hours the piles will end up multiplying themselves!
Since this is a post about truths, the truth is one of the best investments I’ve made is paying someone to clean our home once a month. In addition to the benefit of having a clean house, cleaning up for the cleaning lady is the perfect motivation to get my paper piles filed and tossed out on a regular schedule.
A big part of why I love working from home is the flexibility. Flexibility to do laundry and run errands during the week frees up the weekend for more family time. In addition to picking up for the cleaning lady I’ve implemented a Monday afternoon laundry folding time block so that all the laundry that gets washed over the weekend is folded and put away at the start of the week.
I’ve also discovered a great blog – Clean Mama – that provides simple steps for keeping your home clean. I’m slowly working to implement some of her recommendations.
2. What do you do all day?
I work the same number of hours, and sometimes more, as I did in my office job. But I work those hours on my own schedule and from whatever location I want.
I’ve discovered that I can accomplish much more work by starting my work day at 5:30 am. And with no commute eating up a chunk of my morning I can knock out a whole morning’s worth of work before my clients are at their desk finishing their first cup of coffee.
On days I don’t have conference calls I try to work somewhere other than inside my house. My favorite locations to work from are my back porch and my neighborhood coffee shop. I’ve also recently discovered a co-working space with open hours once a week. I’m enjoying the comradery of working among others with the added benefit of having my phone on silent. It’s a great excuse to not answer incoming unscheduled calls for a few hours each week.
With a work from home career, it is important to make actually working a priority. The most important factor to successfully working from home is doing a good job for the clients or job that you have so you can continue working from home! The flexibility to put a chicken in to roast for dinner at 3pm instead of walking the halls of an office looking for chocolate to eat is worth it.
3. Do you wear PJs all day?
As comfy as it would be to live in PJs 24/7 I don’t. I get dressed every day.
I live in Florida so my work from home wardrobe is casual but its more than PJs. Every morning before I take my daughter to preschool I put on a little blush, mascara, lipstick and earrings.
I usually wear jeans, shorts and a nice top or a dress. I do wear workout clothes some days too, but they are nice enough, and loose fitting enough, that if I popped into a coffee shop and bumped into a potential client I wouldn’t be embarrassed.
Getting ready in the morning is a great reminder that growing a business is not about settling for comfortable but about putting your best self out into the world every day. I do wear flip flops almost everyday though because a perk of working from home is not having to follow someone else’s dress code. Its all about balance, right?
4. How did you find Health Insurance?
Health insurance was the big scary in my leap to working from home. My husband’s work does not offer health insurance so I did a lot of research and made a number of phone calls. We settled on an option for our family that’s slightly more of a financial stretch then we’d hoped for but the best decision for our family.
And with the reduction in my dry cleaning bill, office lunches and take out dinners it turned out not to be much of a stretch at all.
You can read more about how I found Health Insurance here.
Truth: My house is not nearly as organized as I’d anticipated when I began this journey, but I do get the laundry folded and put away more regularly. And I’ve discovered my best work hours are 5:30am-7:30am which I confess are worked in my PJ’s before I get dressed for the day.
I hope this has helped you evaluate if working from home is the right decision for you. Or maybe this has given you insight into your colleague or family member’s chosen career path.
Working from home can be a great opportunity for a flexible work day and more quality family time if you focus on the work that needs to be done.
Do you have additional questions that I didn’t answer about reasons to work from home? Please let me know in the comments below.
P.S. About that chicken I roast at 3:00 in the afternoon…I have two favorite weekday roast chicken recipes Beer Can Roast Chicken and Thomas Keller’s Roast Chicken. You might want to cook Beer Can Chicken on Friday afternoons because the bird only gets half of the beer in the can.
Easy Beer Can Chicken
Pre heat oven to 415 degrees Fahrenheit. Season the chicken. In my house we usually just use kosher salt, black pepper and garlic powder. Place half a can of beer in a chicken roasting stand similar to this one, gently place the chicken on the roaster and roast for 60-90 minutes depending on the size of your chicken. When the chicken is done let it cool and be careful of the hot beer and hot beer steam when taking the chicken off the stand.
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