I saw this article linked from a Facebook post this morning and was inspired to elaborate on #2 in the article about how Working from Home is not all that it’s cracked up to be. I even sent myself an email so I’d remember to it. So, relax, past-Chuck. I’m doing it now.
I used to work in an office with only a few others. The majority of the staff was remote (including my boss and his boss).
My work/life balance was non-existent. I was constantly at the whim of people working from home in remote locations. This was the fictional, never-sent email that I wrote trying to explain why I left that job.
You were so disappointed when I told you I was leaving my job. You mentioned numerous times how I gave no indication that I was unhappy. You kept saying that the fact that I “never mentioned that anything was wrong” really bothered you.
The truth is – while I knew what it was that bothered me, I just didn’t know how to put it. Until today.
I found an article online that elaborated in a tongue-in-cheek way all the downsides of working from home. #2 struck me in a way that I don’t think the author intended. It reads:
- YOU NEVER REALLY STOP WORKING In an office you have a start time and a stop time. Even if you work late, you still have that structure. When you work from home you never really stop working because there’s no separation between work and home. You’re just this slimy amoeba slithering from your home office with your work laptop, to your living room with your work laptop, and finally to your bed… with your work laptop.
While the author’s intention was to poke fun at what is otherwise thought to be a ‘perk’ in an office job. What I saw was an attitude that my remote teammates exemplified.
You never left work.
I can’t comment on how committed you are to sitting at your desks for nine hours straight. Perhaps you really do. But I strongly suspect that if your wives or children wandered in with a question – you answered them. If you were hungry – perhaps you ate. Doorbell rang? You answered.
Were those distractions? Maybe.
But I’ll bet you also walked away from your desks and laid on the couch to relax for few minutes or work through a problem. You went to a private bathroom when needed. Maybe you took that conference call while laying on the floor?
You see, I never had that luxury. While the office was comfortable and well appointed, it was still “the office”. My day started two hours before the office opened everyday. If I was lucky it ended an hour and a half after the office closed. If I was hungry I was stuck with what I brought with me or what I could afford to buy. I wandered from floor to floor sometimes to find an empty restroom.
As the end of the day approached, I would get ready to leave “the office” only to be told on different occasions that there was an issue that required my attention “right now”.
I received several calls between 5:45pm and 6:00pm to inform me a potential customer wanted after-hour service.
I was to perform server updates or configuration changes just before closing.
I had last minute meetings to go over this weekend’s maintenance tasks.
While you were all “working from home”, you were, in fact, home.
Me? My daily routine was non-existent.
Dinner time at my house was randomly between 7pm and 10pm. (Cold McDonald’s at 9:30pm on more occasions that I’d like to admit)
Social plans? Nope, not until I know if I am coming home on time tonight.
While there were indeed other reasons I left, today I found the words to describe the worst part of my time there.
And now you know.