What It Actually Means to Work From Home
From when I was exiting my adolescence days, I envied and admired people that lived that life — working from home.
I’ve always cherished waking up and walking around in my boxers in the comfort of my home, doing my work on my laptop without having to hustle with beating jam or waking up early to the annoying sound of an alarm reminding me that I have to clock-in by 9 am ( No shade to the folks that are doing this but I know it sucks, sometimes.)
About a decade ago, I got what I always wanted & wished for and I can comfortably say I am living my 17-year old self dream but it’s not all roses like I had watched it in the movies or read about it in the books. I’m living it and it’s not as glossy as you dream of it or how I amazingly paint it.
Yes, I’ve been lucky to land myself remote work that I can do from the comfort of my couch, the kitchen counter or even my bed. Thanks to Slack and other online workplace platforms, I do work and collaborate with clients and bosses in Nairobi, South Africa, the US and other countries I only see in the movies with no plans of ever visiting.
All I need as my daily fuel is a great internet connection and a fully charged laptop to do my work and maybe some coffee to keep my optimism high. Ohh plus some Chainsmokers’ music.
To be sincere, I have (still do) enjoyed living this kind of life, haggling to pay bills this way and I know there are very many of you out there who would die to get such an opportunity and do things the same way I have painted the niceness of this kind of hustle.
However, I must warn, there are certain things you are going to have to stomach, sacrifice and be ready for if you ever choose to pursue a Work-At-Home career.
Get used to living a lonely life
Working from home is such a boring and lonely task to partake in!
No sugarcoating, no sweet talk, no kind-wording, It’s not that really cool.
It’s super-boring and you need to be worried about that more than anything.
Nothing kills the mood to do your work every day when you’ll easily get bored, lonely and unmotivated.
While fellas that are in an office are going to have some form of motivation and a stimulator to work, such as workplace incentives, have a hearty laugh with their workmates, a scold from their boss to give them a wake-up call, sharing an idea or two with their colleagues, what you have on the other hand at home, is yourself and only yourself to do everything there is to be motivated.
It’s tiring, it’s monotonous and messes your productivity and before you know it you’re living a lonely life. You are unmotivated to keep working and you’re falling short of deadlines and deliverables.
It’s easy to be distracted
It’s like being handed freedom to choose when to work and when not to. Remember no one is going to wake you up, not a single person is going to remind you of your obligations, there is no boss scolding you and there’s really no proper schedule to glue to.
All you have is the internet to connect you to work and the interwebs are the mother of all distractions if you know what I am talking about.
One episode of Money Heist will become five, one video on YouTube will become 9 videos, one tweet will have you wasting close to 40mins on Twitter scrolling through and before you know it you’d have messed with your concentration and wasted almost half the day.
While someone in the office can do as much as they want and still find a way of doing work, you’re just a peep away from your bed and any slight signal of sleep will be answered appropriately- by actually sleeping.
If you do something of your own free will, you do it by choice and not because you are forced to do it and most times that can come back to bite you that’s why I can’t seem to stop drinking coffee. ( yeah I know how too much of it isn’t safe).
I’ve also made it a habit to embrace power hours. I switch off anything and everything( including apps or my phone completely) to avoid any form of distraction for some hours.
It’s likely you’ll be working all the time
There’s really no sense of direction when you start working from home on a full-time basis. You don’t have a definite plan on how to go about your duties, you have no schedule( at least in the first weeks or months) and you’re always literally around the place.
I didn’t have a definite plan, I was doing everything and at the end of the day, I had a lot of unfinished work because I couldn’t let myself focus on a particular task at a time.
Because you have to account for when the distractions set it, you’re going to find yourself working all the time and no proper schedule will be aiding your work.
Ready For Isolation?
When you choose to work from home, remember you’re deliberately isolating yourself and preparing to live a loner’s life.
I know I said this before but I will say it again for context.
There’s this great feeling that working with other people in an office can give you. Walking over to your colleague’s desk or even grabbing lunch together and having a small talk with them could cheer your moody self up and work could be flowing in the next instant
However, when you work alone in the confines of your home, it’s not the case. You’re likely to be lonely all the time, you’ll keep your thoughts to yourself most of the time and not as many ideas will swing by all the time in line with your work.
Depression will swing by once in a while. You’ll burn out of literally everything, from ideas to motivation to work and everything won’t make sense to you.
To counter this, I always make sure I get a day or two where I work from a coffee shop or a restaurant so that I can interact with random people and I also give myself days off where I don’t have to think about work at all and it’s worked a great deal.
Folks, won’t have a clue what you do and It’s Okay!
To date, my land-lady doesn’t really know what I do and has always been confused about whether I actually do something with my life or simply stay indoors and Netflix binge all the time.
As a matter of fact, I think she’s( my landlady) given up trying to find out what it is I do. My neighbors too have to always ask what I do, even after countless explanations, my parents can’t add two plus two and understand what I do and It’s still hard for them to believe given the fact that I spend most of my hours indoors or I am always online.
Unlike my neighbors, I rarely leave my house in the morning hours like everyone else to report to work unless I have a meeting, I need to buy some groceries, run some errands or simply go hang out with my friends.
I have a feeling this comes from the old-school thinking of employment that I suspect my neighbors have. For one to be considered employed, they’ve got to wake their a***es every morning and show up to an office and spend most of their day doing God knows what.
It has since turned normal, I’ve stopped trying to explain or getting anyone to understand what I really do. Sometimes it’s best you keep it that way.