Working from home – what you should know before you actually do

Quitting my job 4 yrs ago to look after my first born was an easy decision to make. My parents and my in-laws were all working (still are) so my options to let me continue working were either to leave him in a creche or leave him at home with a maid.

Honestly both options were not acceptable to me. So I decided – I am going to enjoy motherhood and be with my baby.

A month and I was restless. Just changing nappies, feeding, soothing a crying baby and talking gibberish was not what I had envisioned for myself. No I have nothing against that, I have done it all with the same joy and bickering that every mom usually does it with. But life had to be more than just that, right?

My then boss, company and the job profile made it easy for me to switch to working from home. Was I elated, you bet I was but do I wish I had known better about working from home before actually beginning. Like what? Like these

1. There are enough and more options

“You will be surprised with what you can get by just asking!” Honestly! I really didn’t think my boss would create a “first time in the company” opportunity for me. There are a lot of companies which are cool with it and making it a way of functioning. Even if your company doesn’t give you the choice, search the net there are numerous options which can help you continue to work, even from home.

2. Your colleagues will not like it all that much

“You get to work in the comfort of your home, in your pjs, lucky you!!!” Easy for them to say because they don’t know the half of it! And this prejudiced notion of theirs is enough for them to go green with envy and not really be the help they could be. Petty office politics continues and colleagues could fail to “inform” you of details. It will help to be conscious and aware of the emotions raging all around.

3. You miss “company”

Yes even that back stabbing so called friend at work. You realise just how much you enjoyed office gup-shup and working with people taking away stationary from your desk. You also have to admit, in creative spaces colleagues are awesome to discuss ideas, iron out the glitches and in general push you to think out of the box. The more the people you meet, the more you talk, the more knowledge you gain, sitting at home does not do much for in this regard.

4. It pays less

If you switch to a new job with a WFH option you do get a lesser deal. I was once told that since I was not travelling anymore I really didn’t need that allowance. Okkkaayy… So where is the allowance for the added phone bills I am generating here? Well you can argue, and win if you are good but the fact is that pay does take a hit when working from home. And it’s not very pleasing. You could take on added projects though! A little something on the side is always nice.

5. It is work, work and more work

Suddenly now all you seem to do is work work and some more work; whether its work at home or work for office, respite seems nowhere near. Baby nap time is good for catching up on that deadline. You try to catch up with pending work in each free minute you get and end up wondering how much work there really is left to be done. Entertaining your child is also work and drains you of energy just the same as any physical activity.

6. Concentrating is not easy

The bell rings. The maid has a query. The baby wants hug. OMG it never stops. Since office has now come home the lines are all blurred and making the switch is not easy. It is tough to concentrate on work and you are going to need a lot of will power to remain focussed and get work done.

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7. It is not cute, always

You planned your call during nap-time but she will choose to wake up just in time. A background score of a giggling baby is not cute and certainly not one wailing. Your client may tell you so but no it is not if it is always the case. It gets even tougher to concentrate for you too.

8. You still need help

Do not assume that since you are working from home you do not need help with the kids or for work at home. You still do. You are still going to be putting in those 8 hours of work. House work and taking care of the baby are more than what you can take on to do all alone. So get help.

9. People tend to take your “work a little lightly

“I just came back from work, you were at home all day!” A lot of people tend to assume working from home is not really that strenuous. You are expected to do all household chores too just because you never left the comfort of your home. They assume you lazed around the whole day which is what possibly they would do at home.

10. You need to make some “ME” time

You suddenly realise travelling to and from work was quality Me-time! Lunch breaks, coffee breaks are all lost now if you do not make the effort to create some time for yourself. Or the stress will get to you, so make that time.

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