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“Oh Good - You’re Home!”
The Joys and Frustrations of Working From Your Residence

There is an indisputable sense of empowerment in working from a home office: freedom from daily bumper-to-bumper commutes, the joy of eating breakfast after the morning’s follow-up calls in your pajamas (or sometimes “dressed up” in sweats), the sweet blessing of being able to concentrate and accomplish tasks in record time, taking days off at your own discretion.

Of course, discipline and self-motivation drive success, especially  when working from home. 

Most of my own professional life (spell that many, many years) has been spent working from a home office/studio.  The benefits are unparalleled, and can only be truly appreciated in contrast to the experience of being tethered to the routine of an “office job”.

Self-employment, or working for a company from home, can mean that the work day often doesn’t end until the wee hours of the morning.  The “weekend-as-respite” can be non-existent.  Even so, the delicious freedom to be able to plan your day as you wish -  to call your own shots on time management - is invigorating.

It’s not for everybody, but judging by the growing number of people who are opting to conduct their business from home, I am not alone in my enthusiasm.

There is, however, definitely a down-side to this lifestyle choice.  Working from home does have its perils and frustrations.

Probably the biggest hurdle is cultivating the self-discipline needed to avoid succumbing to the countless distractions that can wreak havoc on the work day as well as your productivity level.  Niggling details, such as:

The refrigerator - Maybe if I nibble something I’ll think more clearly.

Friends and Family - How do I make them understand that I-AM-AT-WORK???

Pets - William the Dog is thrilled that I spend days at home now.  He likes to pace up and down the office floor, whining to be walked... all day long.

The UPS man.  The FedEx man.  The DHL man.  The mailman.  etc, etc, etc.

The plumber - I know.  He’s only here at my request. Damn leak.

The grocery list - I ate everything in the fridge.  Maybe I should go out for groceries...

The telephone - Why does it ring incessantly, interrupting me during my most inspired moments?  Its’ usually a solicitation, some courageous telemarketer reading from a script, asking how I am today.  How am I?  Do you really want to know?

The garden - Are those more weeds I hear growing?

The laundry pile - Maybe I’ll just put a pile of laundry in the washer...

Mold on the tile grout - Wonder how long it would take to scrub that off?

The list goes on and on.  The vicissitudes of “being accessible” are countless. 
Home is a battlefield of interruptive land mines.

The sound of a faucet dripping can drive you to the phone to call the plumber, who says he “can only come by this afternoon”.  Goodbye work day.

Friends and family often have the notion that if you are at home, you are free for chats and/or visits.  While they wouldn’t dream of interrupting you while you are at the “other” office, they freely telephone you at your home office to gab about a new restaurant or the latest movie.  “Oh, good - you’re home!” exclaims your sister Sue.  She wonders if she can leave the kids with you for a couple of hours while she’s at the dentist.

In addition, there are the escape sirens that lurk everywhere, tempting you, luring you - you name it - to the movies, an afternoon of shopping and lunch with a friend...

It can be challenging to impose a strict work ethic on yourself BY yourself.  Temptations abound.  Once mastered, however, family, friends, will suddenly and mysteriously understand that your work day must be respected.  They are, after all, your fan base, and really do want to support you.

The mold on the tile grout, on the other hand, will never respect your endeavors.  It will continue to nag and nag.  Take it from one who knows.

Perhaps a blindfold and ear plugs should be standard equipment for the home office...

-Karen Saloomey
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