In November, my life changed in a big way. I left my previous job of nine years and joined a new company. A company without headquarters, where everyone works from home (or Starbucks, or the beach, or wherever they want, as long as there’s wi-fi.)
I’ve discovered there are two key elements to feeling somewhat professional when working from home. Take a shower and put on a bra. It’s too tempting to just be a total slob and wear my lounge pants and fuzzy slippers all day, but I find that it affects my mood and productivity. In a way I’m glad I still have to drive the boys to school, it forces me to get out of the house at least once a day.
This isn’t the first time I’ve worked from home. I did it when I first moved to New Orleans in 2000. But I lived alone and I worked for myself, so it was very isolating. But it makes a huge difference to have other humans in your house (just not while you’re working) and other people to talk to (albeit via Skype).
This is basically my dream job (my title is Happiness Engineer, for goodness’ sake!), and making the transition from working in an office to working in the boys’ playroom has been a pretty big adjustment. But there are so many upsides to working from home!
I can now happily skip the “work pants” section at Old Navy and go straight to the comfy clothes section. Jeans are now considered “fancy.” Makeup has become even more optional.
I don’t have to squeeze in my big shopping trips after work or on weekends. I can go at ten in the morning, if I want! And best of all, I don’t have to bring the kids.
While I generally work “normal” business hours, if I want to volunteer for a field trip with the boys, I can do that. If someone gets sick and I need to go pick them up from school right.this.second, I can do that. (Granted, I could do that at my last job, but now I don’t feel so guilty about it.)
I am no longer getting up at 5:00a.m. to go to the gym. I can go after I drop the boys off at school. Or on my lunch break. Or whenever, really.
On the other hand, there is my messy house. Which I am confronted with constantly. I could spend an hour every day cleaning up, but you know, I have to work. And the boys’ school day isn’t quite long enough for me to get in a full days’ work, so often my last hour or so is spent half working, half hugging and listening to stories about school. Which of course isn’t such a bad thing.