Working remotely may sound like a dream come true for some people – a dream that includes comfy patio furniture, ocean breezes, pajamas, and maybe the occasional cocktail at four in the afternoon.
And for some lucky workers, that may be the case. In fact, 99 percent of the articles I read about remote work as I prepared to join the bandwagon described that exact paradise as a perfect blend of flexibility, productivity, internal focus, and work satisfaction.
Those articles lied to me.
In the first few months I struggled with the harsh divide between expectations and reality. That’s when I realized those articles were all written by young males, mostly single, all working in quiet spaces alone.
That just wasn’t the case for me.
I started as an account manager for Push in 2014 working in the office across the street from the statehouse, and my daughter was born in June 2015. I started working from home full-time just a matter of days before she was born, and after six weeks of 2-3 minute naps, I was back at my computer in my home office.
And that’s where I’ve been ever since. As we celebrate Nora’s second birthday, I realize what an amazing opportunity I’ve been afforded for over two years to continue to work with such an awesome team, and still be with my firstborn 24-7.
So I’m rewriting the book on working remotely, from a Push mom’s perspective. Here are the REAL benefits and challenges of working from home:
Time with my kid – I cannot stress enough how important that is for us. Not only do I get be there to witness every wonderful milestone, I also get to be there on Nora’s worst days. I get to rock her through teething, stomach flus, colds, and never have to call in sick for work. I may have to miss the occasional call from the office when we’re doing the “please for the sake of my sanity go to sleep already” dance, but I eagerly return to my computer during naps and after bedtime so my clients’ work isn’t disrupted.
Lack of a dress code – I don’t have to dress up for work, simple as that. You can usually find me in my running shorts or training pants, because we’re either going for a walk during our break, or we just got back from one. And Nora, well most of the time she’s at least wearing a diaper. Show me an office that lets you do that.
Client Focus – I often miss time in the office with my team, but have you seen how big our team has grown lately?? We have clients all over the country and projects coming out of our ears. Not sharing a space with others, though sometimes lonely, allows me to focus on only my clients and their issues.
Home Space – I work within hopping distance of my bedroom, laundry room, and kitchen. I start loads of laundry while dialing into conference calls, and have access to all the juice boxes I can drink. Ok, those juice boxes are for Nora, but being home and not having to pack my food for the day makes it easier for us to stick to our meal plan and eat healthier. We definitely aren’t buying impulse snacks, because we have a fully stocked fruit drawer to raid any time of day.
You knew there would be some, but I’m not going to moan on about my #ChampagneProblems. Working with a bouncy toddler at your feet is hard work. Keeping her entertained without blue screens is a daily struggle, and sometimes she likes to shout Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star and demand donuts while I’m on the phone.
It’s more funny than it is frustrating, and I’m blessed to work with a team that doesn’t mind her outbursts too much, or at least wouldn’t tell me if they did. Our secret is having enough bubbles to last all summer and a wi-fi range that lets us venture onto the back porch and half way down the street.
That’s not the paradise I read about before I got here, but it’s the paradise I’ve found.