The Reality of Working from Home
The idea of working from home can sound blissful: no more time wasted sitting in traffic or standing in an overcrowded train; you can work around your children; no travel costs; flexibility, and if you feel like it, you can work in your PJs and dressing gown so you don’t have to worry about suits, make-up or hair!
All of these very important positives are reasons why I decided to start working from home over a decade ago. Setting up a freelance transcription service has provided the flexibility I so desired when bringing up a young family, but I must say there are some points that I hadn’t considered and wanted to share before you decide to “jump ship” and go it alone.
In order to take the children to water babies and mother and toddler sessions, or to spend time together in the school holidays and go on the numerous school trips during term time, you may need to work late at night or into the early hours to make up the time, sometimes feeling pretty shattered and perhaps a little resentful that your other half is still snoring away in bed or sitting in the next room watching a film! Yes it is lovely not having to request annual leave or phone in explaining you have an ill child; but it’s not quite so lovely knowing you still have deadlines to meet otherwise you let down the client, and the guilt of getting home from the school run and straight away sitting at the computer while the children just entertain themselves can sometimes be overwhelming… I do worry that my sons’ memories of their childhood will be “my mum sat at a computer a lot”!
As for working around the children; now they’re older it’s a little easier, however trying to transcribe a research interview knowing any minute your sleeping baby will wake up for a feed, a change or a cuddle can be a little stressful and I did soon realise that I would still need to use childcare facilities occasionally, particular if there was a deadline looming. Oh and how I sometimes miss the office chatter (although not the politics), and dressing up for drinks after work. As I sit here in my pyjamas writing my first blog I think “thank God for Facebook”; along with the fantastic team of freelancers working for Business Friend who provide much needed email banter along with a professional transcription service, I can drop in and out of FB for a bit of light relief and “watercooler chats” before putting the headphones back on and typing away.
Whenever I feel a little overwhelmed with the niggly issues of working from home, I ask my eldest if he’d rather I had a “normal job” where my time at home is time for them rather than frequently saying, “Right, you’ve got leave me alone for an hour or so while I finish this,” or constantly checking emails, and when he replies, “I like things just the way they are, and at least we can always come and give you a quick cuddle,” I feel lots better and know, for my little family at least, the pros at the moment do outweigh the cons!