Working from home. The holy grail for working parents. Fulfilling and fun work which also means we can do the school run and not be stuck in endless commuter jams.
When I went self-employed in 2015, I had a vision of what my working from home truth would be.
My expectations were as follows:
1. Sit down breakfasts before school (as I had always seen in the Home and Away episodes of my teenage years)
2. Time to exercise EVERY DAY. Maybe even a quick run after the school run. (I could start running!)
3. Healthy meals prepared by hand. I would have variety and lots of green stuff.
4. An Instagram-worthy desk. I imagined, within the first year, a magical creation of a whole new room in my house (with a door.)
5. A tidy house. Because, naturally, being at home would mean that I would have time to pick up and declutter.
Now, I’m three years in. Past the milestone that means I can’t quite justify calling myself a start-up anymore. And this, my friend, is the truth about working from home.
1. Mornings are still as fraught as they were when I was working out of the home. I just have the added bonus of not needing to always be presentable at 8:30am.
2. Exercise has been sporadic and varied; between a regular kettlebell session to stretching for a biscuit. However, I’ve just started moving my “start time” a little later to fit in HIIT. Watch this space.
3. Meals have varied between “f**k I forgot to eat” to a sit-down meal at one of the day time networking events I attend. Even though “lunch” is a daily diary appointment I must do better.
4. Ah, that private work space. I’m still sitting on my dining room table surrounded by washing. That magical room hasn’t appeared.
5. Seeing as people drop around unexpectedly, (as when you work from home, many can’t equate it with ACTUAL WORK) you would think that I would have the house visitor-ready. But no, my day between 9:30 and 3 is full to the brim with business development, marketing, coaching, and book keeping so the tidying is back of the queue.
Don’t get me wrong, working from home gives me the flexibility that allows so much good into my life. My stress levels are reduced, and my carbon footprint is newborn-size.
It can get lonely, so I make the point of getting out of the house and developing my new “work family” with other freelancers and consultants.
But ultimately, my working from home truth is not quite as I expected! What about you, has your expectations matched up the reality of working from home?
You can find out more about Career Coach Clara Wilcox on her website The Balance Collective. She is also the Author of “What Now? The Honest Guide to Miscarriage, Baby Loss, Parenting, Mental Health And Rebuilding Your Identity”