by Sara Fisher
Do you really “work” when you’re at home?
Every now and again I’ll stay back from the office and work from my house. Er, every now and again I’ll stay back from the office and “work” from my house. I say “work” because we all know that when you tell your boss you’re going to work from home, what you really are saying is: “I need some time to go get my nails done, run to the grocery store and organize my file cabinets.”
It doesn’t mean you’re actually going to sit behind your desk all day doing things to advance your career. You’re blatantly lying if you say you don’t agree with me.
Due to an unforeseen child care issue, I’ve had to work from home quite a bit over the past few weeks. Yes, I got my projects done (most of the time). Yes, I participated in umpteen conference calls. But behind the scenes of PowerPoint and Outlook, I was able to:
- Find a new nanny
- Pack for various weekend trips I was taking with my family
- Hit up Target and the dry cleaners before 9 am.
I was able to do things I wouldn’t have been able to had I been shackled to my desk all day. Let’s face it, face time is overrated. For instance, when I was pregnant and on bed rest “working from home,” I had no problem working four hours straight in order to make my two o’clock naptime. Or take conference calls early in the morning or late at night so that I could go to the mall during off hours.
Yes, working from home does have its benefits. I know moms who work at home occasionally so that they can be a part of their kid’s daily activities (read: PTA. Suckers.) Some mothers I’ve talked to use the occasional working from home excuse to spy on their nannies (ok, that was me.) I’d venture to say that a lot of mothers would admit to working at home solely because it allows them the opportunity to take a long, hot shower, blow dry their hair in peace and still have an excuse to wear sweats all day. Clean sweats, that is. (Remember, you’ve actually showered.)
Best perk of working at home? No one on the other end of those pesky conference calls cares if you’ve brushed your teeth or not.
On the flipside, working from home does have its disadvantages. For one, it’s nearly impossible to work at home on a nice, sunny day. One should really save their work at home opportunities for the grey miserable days where you wouldn’t want to go outside anyway. There’s really nothing worse than actually having to work when it’s gorgeous outside and all you see from your home office window is a nanny pushing a your stroller down the sidewalk.
Also, working from home dilutes how excited your child is to see you at the end of the day. One of the biggest thrills I get is when I walk in the door after a long day at the office and my son runs to hug me. It’s not quite the same when you’re just sauntering downstairs at 3 pm. And your kid just saw you 15 minutes ago.
But, then again, it’s 3 pm, and you’re done for the day. No one looking over your shoulder as you twiddle your thumbs to 5 o’clock.