I often get asked what it’s like working from home, and honestly, it’s pretty great. When working remotely, I get to wear what I choose, and eat when it suits me best. So in that regard, my basic Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs are met. But the biggest thing people don’t talk about are burnouts, its toll on your mental health and how they’ve had to set boundaries to be successful. While all of these things are true, I really think that anyone has the ability to work from home at least a few days of week to help grind through work uninterrupted. Thinking of giving it a try? Here’s my perspective on the whole thing!
Waking Up Is A Breeze (Working In Your PJs Edition)
I am an early riser, which really leans into my most productive hours being so early. I get to wake up anywhere between the hours of 6 - 9 am and start working as I choose. I don’t have to pick out an outfit, put on makeup or even shower for that matter! (Ok chill out, I still shower). So with that being said, my most productive hours of the morning are spent absolutely crushing work before my meetings begin, without any loss time. Efficient, and way less stressful. Fun fact, this is why Mark Zuckerberg wears the same outfit every single day.
Wtf Is Going On
Working from home has made me extremely resourceful. I loved to think that I was a badass chick that got a lot of shit done, but nothing tests this ability quite like being lost in the google abyss. Where remote employees are different that office employees, is that you hustle to ask the right people the right questions all day long, and giving up is not an option. Oh, and you read like a ton! Platforms like Slack and Google Hangouts have really improved workplace efficiency for remote employees, so I would recommend knowing these guys before making the transition.
All The Food
Having been blessed with a multitude of food sensitivities, it’s been an absolute dream to be able to cook my own meals for breakfast, lunch, snacks and everything in between. It’s funny how you don’t realize how much of a stressor food can actually be. For anyone that has restrictions with their diet whether it be vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, you know that grabbing a quick bite on-the-go comes with a lot of baggage. And then sometimes you don’t have the time, money or geographic proximity to get anything nutritious for yourself, therefore have to choose between being miserably in pain or miserably hungry. Ouch. Downside? No birthday cakes, weekly donut runs or delicious leftovers in the community kitchen.
A Wee Bit Too Much Time Alone
The biggest learning here is that it’s important to recognize that the onset of loneliness comes quite suddenly, and if you haven’t set yourself up properly throughout the week to get out of this funk, you might find yourself in a dark hole come Thursday evening. I’ve learned that talking about it is very important. Make sure to ask for proactive help. Have your friends, partners, family members check in on you and genuinely ask if you’ve left the house today. And if the answer is no, they have veto to drag your ass out for errands, a walk or a casual drink somewhere. No fighting allowed!
It can trigger unhealthy workaholic tendencies
Just like your day starts when you wake up, it’s hard to define when your day also ends. There is always something you can read, a podcast to listen to, research that can be done and people to chat with in order to learn more about your industry. And for me being client facing, my entire value is derived from how much context I bring to the table. My hot tip here is to build in a habit that signals to your brain “laptop closed, and the day is done”. For me, this has been going to the gym every day at the same time. For others, they close their laptops, go for a walk around the block, and emulate the “commute back home” from their office. I would recommend finding something to do, and stick to it. The key to success here is to make it consistent.
Estimated Savings to Date: $2,964
By being able to cook my own food, I don’t end up spending nearly as much on casual coffees and croissants on my way into work (yum) or 2 pm crash snacks from the corner store. I dare you to make your own coffee at home for 30 days (use a travel mug because the environment is everything!) and try to keep track of how much money you’ve saved. I didn’t have to plug away into my spreadsheet to know that this numero is much higher than you thought. Downside? No starbucks stars, which are arguably the most important piece of this entire conversation to start with.