Why Working from Home Sucks

I’ve been doing a lot of brain dumps lately. This is what is on my mind today 😛

I have a love and hate relationship with working from home. I’ve tried to change things up a bit to make it easier on me, but most of the options available to me cost money that I don’t have on excess to spend right now. The situation as it is now really slows down my business some days, and then there are some days things fit right into place that I have a very productive day.

The Pros:

  • As I spoke about in my previous blog about Difficulties in Parent Care, I love being able to work at home so I can be here for dad if he needs anything or has an emergency. My dad lives with us because he is disabled, and as a survivor of a heart attack and two strokes (one of which was almost exactly a year ago), compounded with his other medical issues (diabetes, etc), it’s important to me that I remain available for emergencies.
  • When I need a mental break from code, I can take a moment to pick up another task around the house such as dishes. This allows me to remain productive constantly (this can also be a con, which I’ll address below)
  • It’s definitely cheaper, in fact I don’t have any office building expenses and can write a good portion of my home expenses off as a business expense
  • I don’t have to fight over parking, which is the biggest complaint about my current outside office space in town. I never have any parking during office hours.
  • In comparison to my existing office space in town, not only do I not have to worry about no parking, I don’t have to worry about things disappearing from my office (has happened), I don’t have to worry about being locked out of my mail for 2 weeks (has happened), and I don’t have to deal with people walking through my office space throughout the day (always happens).

The Cons:

  • For about 2 years we had a renter that was taking up our extra bedroom (my former office space). During that time I literally had no place to work and struggled to get as much as I could done at coffee shops or libraries around the county. Luckily that situation is fixed, but for a long time this was my biggest Con about working from home.
  • The dog and even my dad are major distractions. My dog goes on crazy barking fits at the drop of a hat, especially when there’s a mailman or an egg customer in the driveway. Dad also religiously watches the Price is Right at 11am, Jeopardy at 12pm, and then Young and the Restless at 12:30pm every single day. Normally I try to go up into my office space during this time, so these aren’t always an issue but…
  • My office space is less than ideal. For starters, right now my husband is on midnight shift, so he’s sleeping at home during the day. Because our house has no central air, we have window units in all the bedrooms. So he can sleep, we have a window unit on in our bedroom because our upstairs was the former attic and there’s no ventilation up there. Also because of the age of our electrical wiring in the house, I can’t run the air conditioning in the office at the same time or it will blow a fuse. I can get a few hours up there in the morning, but early afternoon I’m so muggy I get chased downstairs. I have a cousin willing to redo the electric, or at the very least run separate lines to some of these outlets, but it’ll cost me at least $1300, which is a steal but still out of the excess budget right now.Secondly, the space isn’t well-built, so the lack of creativity and structure can be a damper. The windows are drafty and loud, and occasionally wasps can get in and chase me out of the office again. Fortunately I have worked out a barter deal with a new client that will replace all the windows upstairs (and do some additional work for me) in exchange for an upgraded website.I can’t bring clients into my home for meetings, and I wouldn’t want to anyway, that’s just weird. The way this house is built, you have to go through my fathers bedroom to even get upstairs, and he’s not the cleanliest person.
  • Phone-calls aren’t easy when the dog is barking or the lawnmower is running.

My ideal situation would be a well-built shed in the side of the yard with electrical hookup. I have wanted one of these “she sheds” for years. It would allow me to have my own space out of the house, it would look cleaner and more professional (as professional as a shed can be, anyway), and would still allow me to be home to take care of any emergencies and not have to worry about parking. Approximate cost: $4,000.

I’m hoping one day I can barter a relationship with a client to develop a website in exchange for one of these sheds, but those aren’t easy to negotiate.

Eventually my husband and I plan to buy a larger property with a larger house that has the ability for a separate office space, but that’s at 6 year plan. Right now this house has to do.

On days when no one is in the office in town (Sat and Sun), I could go in without having to fight for parking. But I need more than 1 day a week for dedicated working space.

I’ve also considered switching to working nights like Donald does so I don’t have to worry about the air conditioning, but that’s not ideal for business when I need to network, answer calls, or meet with clients when most of them are operating during the day.

I could start working very early in the morning (think 5am) until about lunch time, and then drive out to a library or coffee shop to finish up until Donald wakes up. Two problems with this scenario are the disruption in the middle of the day to tear down, drive somewhere, and setup somewhere else. And I’ve run into scenarios where I couldn’t work at one place and had to spend time finding another public place to work. The other problem is sometimes when my husband gets home from work at 8am he is able to stay up till about noon or 1pm and then sleeps until he has to go back to work. Whenever he’s able to be awake at home we try to take advantage of that time to get necessary things done around the home like building a Chickshaw for our chickens.

I could find my own dedicated office space with parking, but that would be expensive, and I don’t have the cash for that right now, and parking is a large commodity in town anyway, which makes it even more pricey.

I’ve thought about trying to convince an investor to buy a building to convert into an office space and let me run it in exchange for my own space, but I haven’t even tried to look into that scenario and the hassle it would mean for me on top of running my own business. Honestly, if I had the funds I’d buy a building myself and convert it, but we’re still trying to be frugal right now.

So I have no solutions right now. I think getting up at 5am and starting work until it’s too hot upstairs is the only option I have until my husband is either off midnight shift or I am able to facilitate the shed or dedicated office space. I don’t care about getting up early, I actually prefer it being a farmer’s daughter. I just need to work harder so I can provide myself additional opportunities and flexibility through funding.

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Twitter: @crystalgroves

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Crystal Groves Written by:

Crystal Groves is a farmer, web developer, musician, blogger, and personal finance enthusiast for the back hills of Maryland and Pennsylvania. She's an old-time blogger, starting just after 9/11, and has been blogging about technology, personal finance, health & wellness, and local news for the last several years.