How many times have I heard that, in all it’s various forms? Squillions. Now, just let me set all you you cube-farm, clock-in/clock-out, my desk with my potted plant and my photos and my post-its, bad-tempered commuter types straight.
I work from home.
Others (you) probably work from an office. I work from home. That’s the sum total of the difference. Ok, I don’t commute in the mornings, but that is where our working days cease to differ. We both (probably) sit at a computer, and both answer phone calls, we both attend meetings, we both have times of deep concentration to work on our projects, we both reach-out to colleagues for help, we both have coffee breaks (actually tea is my poison of choice).
But there is one other major difference. People’s perceptions of people who work from home. Apparently in addition to running a full-time job (and in 2015 full-time will probably mean about 12 hours a day much as it did in 2013 an 2012), I also apparently (according to anyone at all the the universe who does not work from home, or maybe is retired, or maybe is about four years old) have time to keep on top of the shopping/cooking/washing/cleaning/dog-poop-shovelling (“oh you are so lucky you work from home), I can also pop out for coffee/lunch/a G&T with a 3 minute warning (“well you’re at home aren’t you”), as well as the fortune to be able to invest as much time when and how you like on making my body beautiful at the gym, pool, beautician (“how amazing just being able to manage your own time and do what you want when you want”). A particular short-failing of mothers of those of us who work from home is the phone call at 11.15 on a Tuesday morning that starts with “hi, I just thought we could catch up and have a chat”. Four year olds (and children in general of home-workers) are as bad with “I need you nooooooooooooow”, “help meeeeeeee”, “I have wet socks”, “I want to play with your keyboard”, “give me a cuddle”, “mummy there has been a little accident”, “I need a juice now”, “no Mummy not that juice you just gave me, I wanted another juice” …
Partners of those of us who work from home take refusal to even begin to undersand to another whole new level (“well, you are already at home aren’t you, “what do you mean you didn’t have time?”, “how long does it take to cook a meal/book an appointment/take a pair of shoes to the menders/pick something up from the pharmacy” etc.)
I am lucky enough to have a dedicated space for my office, on a split level over one of the bedrooms. When home alone I go up the staircase at about between 7.30 and 9 am and come down again about 1pm. Up again at around 2pm and down again at 4pm. Up again at 8pm and down anytime before midnight. That would be three ups and three downs per day. During the school holidays, when I am obviously not home alone, I couldn’t actually count the number of ups and downs per day a) they are too many to even begin the remember, b) so many are only partials (mostly ups) when I get about halfway up or nearly to the top before “I need/can you get me/aaaaaahhhhh/mummyyyyyyyy” forces me to turn around and descend.
I work from home (also on a train, in the car, in an airport, in the bar at Ikea, at the supermarket … but that’s another story). I work. Possibly not more, and most definitely not less that those of you who are obliged to turn up to your dedicated space enclosed within those four walls somewhere outside of your home. Work is something you DO not somewhere you GO.