I’m very grateful to have a job that I love. I started in 1999, and I’ve loved it ever since. Apart from the odd morning when I’ve woken up tired and grumpy (or unwell), there has never been a day in 13.5 years that I have thought, “I don’t want to go to work today”.
And since I started working from home 5 years ago, I have loved my job even more. Working from home just ‘works’ for me. I’m really good at ignoring housework, so I don’t find myself distracted by cleaning. Ha! I hate daytime TV, so I am never tempted to watch it. I don’t mind being home alone. I have my lovely Buddy dog as a companion, anyway.
I can take my laptop outside and work on the deck in the sunshine, when the weather is warmer. I can take it into the living room and work next to the fireplace, when the weather is cooler. I could even take it to bed and work from there, although I haven’t tried that one! Having said that, I am working in my pyjamas today. My boys walk to/from school on their own most of the time, and my car is at the shop, so I have NO reason to go anywhere until 6pm tonight (so I will, at some point between now and then, have a shower and get dressed).
I don’t have to listen to the (often loud) conversations of others while I’m trying to work. I can enjoy music without having to wear earphones, or I can revel in the peaceful sounds of birds singing outside my window and waves crashing on the beach. And, depending on the direction of the breeze, I can hear the kids playing on the school playground between 10.40-11.00 and 12.30-1.30. Hearing their happy noise always makes me smile.
I don’t have to have boring old sandwiches for lunch. I don’t have to decide what I’m going to have for lunch at 7am, I can just wander into the kitchen when I get hungry and make whatever takes my fancy. My favourite lunch is poached eggs on toast. We have a fully equipped kitchen at work, but I can’t imagine making poached eggs in it! The most ‘cooking’ I’ve ever done at work is making toast or heating up soup or leftovers. Once I did find somebody cooking an entire roast lamb (and veges) in the oven at work! I think it was for a department lunch or something.
Every Monday, I go into the office for the day. Buddy goes to my parents’ place — doggy daycare! It’s my choice to go in once a week, and I look forward to it. I started doing it a couple of years ago because I did miss the social aspect of being at work. Once a week is just enough to keep me happy and connected with my colleagues, and just enough to remind me how much I hate commuting! It’s not a long commute, but it has gradually become longer over the years thanks to traffic woes and overpopulation. Not driving into the office 4 days/week has saved me 4-6 hours each week. I can use those hours to sleep, exercise, spend time with my kids.
There are a few downsides to working from home.
- Calls from telemarketers, people wanting money and Indians worried about my computer.
- Visits from door-to-door salespeople and Jehovah’s Witnesses. I’ve taken to going outside (after being alerted to the arrival of a foreigner by my wonderful little guard dog) and saying, “I’m actually working, sorry”. Nobody tends to argue with that. Whether they believe me or not is a different story! But at least they leave me alone. I hope none of them visit today, since I’m in my PJs!
- People who think I am ‘free’ and ‘available’ at any time of the day because I am at home.
- Sometimes I feel a bit lonely, but I’m not afraid to call Mum or a friend and meet them for coffee (I am allowed to take a lunch break, after all). Some days I am literally counting down the minutes until 3.13pm, which is when my boys arrive home from school. While it’s obviously harder to work (uninterrupted) when they are here, I like their company. They are so used to me working from home, and know that sometimes I need to just finish the sentence I’m typing before I can stop and look at their story or LEGO creation or help with a homework question. They know what to expect, and it works well for our family.
There are days when Rob arrives home at 5pm and I say, “There’s no dinner”. Not often, but it does happen! He’s great, and will sort dinner out while I try to finish a job or meet an urgent deadline. There’s something inherently less stressful about having an urgent deadline when you’re sitting in the comfort of your own home, surrounded by your loved ones, listening to dinner being prepared for you, and knowing you only have a 30 second commute from your desk to the dining room. And there’s the knowledge that I can always come back to work after the kids are in bed to tie up any loose ends.
I’m happy to be doing what I love, where I love doing it.