Escaping the 9 to 5 bubble of a cubicle can be a dream come true. You can work in your pajamas, set your own hours, and have no traffic, pollution, or commuter stress to deal with. Your friends envy you for having it all “figured out.” What they don’t know, however, is that working from home can present its own set of unexpected challenges over time. For those of you who work at home, you are probably familiar with these 20 bad things only people who work from home will understand.
1. Your best suit looks much like your best pajamas.
A power tie is a robe, and instead of $500 pumps, you wear the finest sheepskin boots money can buy.
2. No water cooler chit chat, except to your dog (or cat).
No need to talk about the weather or listen what your co-workers did over the weekend, but also no one to tell your own stories to or gossip about that crazy thing your neighbor did, or how cute your new baby niece or nephew is.
3. No office holiday party for you to embarrass yourself at.
Drinking Peppermint Schnapps and putting on a Santa hat is no fun if there is no one to kiss under the mistletoe.
4. A sick day and a work day are the same thing.
You can’t call in sick, because you’re already home for the day. No need for a doctor’s note, and since you’re already home, you have no excuse to not get your work done on time.
5. A long lunch turns into a day off.
It can be too easy to think you can do a casual lunch, only to realize you’ve been gabbing with an old friend for hours, and then suddenly, you find yourself easing out of taking a whole day off.
6. Any “office gossip” consists of what everyone else is posting on Facebook.
The only “people” you talk to are Facebook “friends” by liking or commenting on their status updates. You suddenly find yourself sucked in the rabbit hole that is Facebook and hours later – after looking at cat videos and memes galore – you realize you need to go outside and say “hello” to people in the real world. But then, you’d have to trade in your pajamas for real clothes.
7. You start talking to yourself … and you start answering back.
Talking to your pet does not count. You are still really talking to yourself, since even though your pet seems like they can understand what you’re going through, pets truly aren’t people after all.
8. People think you have nothing to do.
They assume you play video games or stalk on Facebook all day which, in reference to number six above, you probably do.
9. Your family thinks you don’t have a “real” job.
Since you have no company car, key to the executive washroom, or office party you take pictures of, that you must just be unemployed and lying to them.
10. The dog always seems to bark the minute you jump on a conference call.
This is because that is also simultaneously the time the mailman seems to show up.
11. Cleaning your house several times a day still counts as procrastination.
You can only scrub your tile grout so many times before you realize you are really avoiding your work.
12. Your “hours of operation” turn into an open 24 hours kind of thing very easily.
When you check emails on your phone from bed, you know you are in trouble.
13. Your inbox rules your day.
Those constant dings of your email that you seemingly just have to answer right away can go all day because you have no set hours, so people assume you are always available.
14. Some days your commute can still seem long, even if you are only commuting a room away.
The steps from the bed to your desk can seem daunting, so you pull the covers over your head and elect to email from bed.
15. You can still get a lot of work done while watching a TV show marathon.
It’s just “background noise,” right?
16. Some days look like not putting on any makeup or showering, because you have a 6 am conference call.
No one will notice if you smell or have bedhead. Then, 5 hours later you look in the mirror and realize you forgot to shower that day.
17. Video chat calls require twice as much blush as usual.
No matter what lighting you have in the room, you look like a ghost when it comes to video chatting.
18. Happy Hour can start whenever you want.
It’s been a tough day. One beer for lunch won’t hurt.
19. Your desk turns into your couch, as you snuggle up next to your dog or cat.
Since you stayed up late emailing from bed, and your desk seems too far away, the couch is sort of like halfway between a bed and a desk.
20. No one will know if you don’t get your work done.
Except you, and then your clients. The only one that is there to motivate you is yourself.