I’m writing this post while in my pajamas, hung over, and having a little “hair of the dog” after the great time I had at my birthday dance party on a Sunday night. And that right there, is pretty much the best testament to working at home.
Photographers, independent designers, freelancers… I know you feel me! Working from home is awesome. But can we talk about the challenges of being self-employed and working from home and what we can do to combat those issues?
Lack of boundaries between work and personal life
I would never walk into my husband’s work and start chatting while he’s trying to record something. And yet, that guy I married is constantly interrupting me while I’m writing. The difference in both of those situations is that there’s an obvious boundary crossing if I went to his work and interrupted him, while it’s not so obvious when your place of work is in your living room. Can you tell by that photo up there that not even our dog respects my work space?
One day I hope to have my own office, separated by a door, and walking into that room and chatting my ear off will be the equivalent of me coming into your place of business and doing the same.
Which brings me to my next issue…
People think you’re not working when you are
It’s not just my husband… if I had a dollar for every time someone interrupts me while I’m working — having assumed that I’m just hanging out — I’d probably make more money than I do at work! I get it. In my pajama pants, sitting on my couch, with a laptop on my lap, it’s easy for people to assume I’m not actually working.
Just like how it might look like you’re just “goofing off online” when you’re really working long hours promoting your new floral biz on Facebook. And yeah, you might be scanning awesome photos on Pinterest, but you’re actually collecting ideas for future clients!
It can get lonely
As much as I don’t miss having co-workers all up in my grill, I do miss the company. Spending most of my time at home alone has started to make me a bit anti-social. I have to force myself to actually go out and interact with other humans some times.
Thank gawd for social networking, right? Us work-from-home-ers can conduct virtual water cooler talk via Twitter and even in the Offbeat Empire comments. I also set up wedding vendor dates with other people in the biz so we can do exactly what we’re doing here — get some human interaction with another person who knows the troubles I’ve seen.
I rarely move during the work day. If I need to go to the bathroom it’s steps away instead of down a long hallway. There’s no need to take a break to walk nearby and get lunch as my kitchen is right there. And when I worked as a hostess I was on my feet and moving all day long.
On the Offbeat Empire especially, we’re all the most productive when we’re glued to our laptops. So in an effort to inspire us to step away and move our bodies, a lot of us ladies purchased FitBits. It’s definitely been helping me to not turn down any opportunities to get meet my goals for the day. Wanna take a break and go hiking? (I’ll reach my stairs goal!) Are my dogs demanding attention? I’ll take a break to run around with them. (Highly active minutes!) Sure you could drive to the coffee shop to meet that client, but maybe you’ll walk instead. (Get a higher step count!)
So those are my biggest working from home challenges. What are your biggest problems? Are they the same as mine? What do YOU do to overcome those challenges?