The human reality of working from home

For many, working from home is a new reality which has been sprung upon them. Others have been doing it for years and are well versed on the pitfalls as well as the benefits of having a home office. Perhaps given we are set to work from home for the foreseeable future, it’s worth talking through some realities you will more than likely face. Forewarned and all that.

People don’t believe you are actually working

Prepare to be faced with flippant comments of ‘how’s the hobby?’ or having people popping in since they were ‘just passing and knew you’d be there’. When you talk about a flexible schedule, people assume you are available anytime because real workers would go to the office.

It shouldn’t matter what people think about your work, but it does. And it will bother you more than you know. You can try to change people’s minds, but it won’t always work.

But consider setting boundaries to protect your office hours (even if your office is the kitchen table) and use the necessary language around ‘going to work’, ‘being in the office’ etc which will help to solidify your working status. It might not change the quips, but it will make you feel better.

Kids will walk in when you are on video calls

Today, we had a team video call and I had an 8-year-old Spiderman walking in, asking for answers to a maths problem. It didn’t stop us achieving what we needed to on the call, but then, we are used to it. Our business is working from home and with that real life sometimes interrupts you but we are progressive enough to value efficiency and completed deliverables over anything else.

This was an internal team chat and if it were external, there would be snack bribery to keep interruptions minimal but, as that infamous video interview with a scientist on BBC news whose child rolled in on a bouncer (see video) shows children will interrupt you and sometimes, there is nothing you can do about it.

The majority of household chores will fall to you

It’s unfair, but it isn’t intentional or on purpose. But because you are physically in the house, you become the point person for waiting in for the heating engineer, signing for deliveries or popping out to do the shopping.  You are also the one that manages last minute school closures (hello COVID-19) because being at home means you’re set up to be the teacher.

The only way to overcome this is to say no. Set the boundaries of what you can and can’t do during the working day and aim to share the emotional labour.

You will get cabin fever

A few days can go by and suddenly you realise you haven’t seen or talked to anyone other than those you do washing for. We are in quite a unique time when that will be the case for a while yet. But when life returns to a semblance of normal, you may find you’ve lost the ability to have small talk or forget how to behave at dinner parties. This is totally normal for those who work from home, but it requires effort to avoid emotional isolation.

Ensure you get out, enjoy fresh air and linking (virtually) with others in a similar situation will help you feel more connected and supported.

You will get healthy

It is well known that commuting is bad for your health and wellbeing. It also take up a lot of your time. By working from home, you avoid that entirely. You also don’t need to spend time working out what to wear or doing your make-up. You are literally ready to go.

And by working from home, Jack from Accounts doesn’t bring in cake because it’s his birthday and leave it temptingly in the kitchen. You can also take half an hour out of your day to go for a run, play with the dog or tune in to Joe Wicks. You are in control of your time and your diet.

Working from home doesn’t suit everyone. But if done properly, it is a productive and efficient way of working and for military spouses, it provides the opportunity to maintain a career through postings and use the essential skills developed from years of following the flag to bringing value to businesses. It also means that if it is raining, you don’t need to go outside.

Recruit for Spouses is an agile, flexible business working tirelessly to place military spouses in flexible, home working roles. If you would like to know more, contact us today.