Working From Home Really IS That Great

For the past five years, I have worked almost entirely out of my home. For the first 3.5 years after my daughter was born, I was a stay-at-home parent who also freelanced, and then in April 2010, I went back to work full time, but still at home.

The myth of working from home is this: Person stays in PJs all day, does some work, watches some TV, hangs out, reads the paper. If they're a parent, they play with the kids, take them to the park, dabble in some work, and then take a nap.

The truth is much more complicated. So when I hear about a recent survey from Staples Advantage that touts all the benefits of working from home and none of the disadvantages, I groan a little. Even still, for a working parent, working at home is the only way to fly.

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The truth is this:

  • 86 percent of telecommuters said they were more productive at home.
  • Telecommuters said their stress levels decreased 25 percent on average.
  • 73 percent said they started eating healthier since working from home.

All of these things are true. Without a two-hour commute each day, I am able to focus much more on my work and much more on my kids. I am able to eat a healthy salad I keep in the fridge and I have access to healthy snacks all day long. I am almost never in traffic, so I eliminated that stress, and I am so much more productive in my work since my hours belong to me and no one else.

But it has disadvantages, too. Any mom who thinks she can work from home without childcare is just kidding herself. And there are many days our nanny arrives to take the kids on some super-fun play date or trip to the museum and my heart breaks a little at the idea that I have to go back inside to work. This is especially true on sunny days.

It's also hard to not have any co-workers or adult conversation to break up the monotony. The house can feel like a tomb if I don't get out and walk the dog or go for a run when I can. I try to at least get up, work out, take a shower, and get dressed; otherwise, I will end up feeling like a slob.

But overall, yes, I am aware that I am in a unique and privileged position. I get to have a career, write from my bedroom, and have my son come in for cuddles when he gets back from the park with his sitter.

Thus far, it's the only way I see to have a work and home balance, and I do feel very lucky that I have a career where telecommuting works. It really should be available to more moms.

Do you work from home?

 

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