Working from home. Some view it as a luxury, others view it as a sentence. Whatever side of the debate you’re on, if you’ve ever worked from home, you know it can challenge your willpower, your productivity, and your waistline. Here are 9 struggles work-from-homers face every day:
1. Getting Dressed.
There’s just no good reason to do this. Besides, pajama pants. The more time you work from home, the greater the likelihood that you’ve grown out of your dress pants and into your pajama pants. Yoga pants equals overdressed. Working from home also makes it less likely that you shower with any sort of regularity.
2. People That Do Not Work From Home Do. Not. Get it.
This drives me crazy. I work from home on Fridays, I am not “off” on Fridays. I constantly hear “You are off on Friday, so can you …[insert time-consuming errands here]…?” NO. Just, NO. I don’t have the day off, I just take my job to a different zip code on Fridays, so that I can also do my Mommy jobs and housekeeper jobs without a three plus hour commute. So, think of it more like I am too busy on Fridays to go into the office, because I am working three jobs.
Nothing can induce the urge to do housework quite like reviewing a 192-page license agreement with 37 schedules. Dishes, changing light bulbs, laundry . . .You can do a TON of laundry when you’re home all day. However, to “do laundry” means to spend the 2 minutes it takes to throw in an extra-large load of mixed whites and colors. It necessarily excludes anything that involves folding or putting away. We live out of our clean wash basket. And fuck ironing. That’s what the “fluff” cycle on the dryer is for.
There’s no breakfast. There’s no lunch. There’s a free, all-day, all-you-can-eat carb buffet right there in your fridge. If you’re like me and sometimes work from the kitchen counter, your home office is right there in the buffet line. “Meals” blur the lines, but can be defined as follows: Too Early For Tostitos and Too Late For Cereal. Of course, when you’re working from home, it’s really never too late for cereal. Especially Fruit Loops. Fruit Loops are like the unsung hero of superfoods.
5. Human Interaction.
There are two types of people in this world: Those that admit to talking to themselves, and liars. I fit squarely in the former camp, and there is a window of time between morning radio shows and Ellen that I find myself asking and answering my own questions, just to avoid feeling like Will Smith in I Am Legend. I’ve cross-examined myself and even taken my own deposition. Look, it can get pretty lonely. Not lonely enough to join a video conference, though. . . that would be crazy. And also dangerous, in light of the pajama pants and all.
6. Getting Out Of The House.
You will find ways to validate trips to CVS, the grocery store, the dry cleaner, etc. This is as much to get out of the house as it is to create some semblance of structure. Like, “I have an 11.” (aka you’re going to CVS to get toilet paper, gum, and body wash because, you know, you’ll need them at some point.) You inevitably delay your departure in half hour increments until you finally walk out the door at 2. And while nobody needed anything from you all day, they suddenly need you at 2, and for the entire hour of time you spend lost in the store’s magazine aisle.
Working from home necessarily takes “work” and “life” and forces them to co-exist in a confined, cluttered space. There’s no balance – you have to choose one or the other and will inevitably feel guilty about your choice. If it’s nice outside you feel like you’re wasting a day sitting in front of a laptop. If you go outside you feel like you should at least bring your laptop with you. Multiply this emotional tug-of-war by a bazillion if you have kids at home.
8. You Get N-O-T-H-I-N-G Done. Because, Kids.
I am convinced that kids are the sole reason for one of the most seemingly asinine inventions ever: the mute function on a phone. Unless you take calls from the engine room of a cruise ship, what other reason would you have to mute a device that is at least 50% for talking into? I once had opposing counsel ask me if I was taking our call from a shooting range. I was about to explain that it was just my 4-year-old playing Hungry Hippos – with TNT Pop-Its instead of marbles – when I realized his theory made me sound much more bad ass.
9. Moral Dilemmas.
It’s 3 o’clock. Answer e-mails or watch Ellen?
E-mails; Ellen? E-mails; Ellen?
E-mails put up a pretty good fight, but Ellen wins. Every damned time.
If you’ve ever worked from home, you get it. If you have not, you probably are one of those that thinks a day working from home is a day off. And clearly, you’ve never had to battle your own conscience just to put on your pants.