What Is It Really Like to Work from Home?

You hear about people who work from home — and you picture yourself getting in on that sweet action. Maybe it’s a neighbor, past colleague or friend who decided to trade in their high heels for slippers. Their reality is your dream, and one that’s filled with cozy wardrobes (think: yoga pants, oversized sweaters and messy buns), dogs at your feet, windows open and your favorite Spotify list playing in the background.

Of course, it’s not all easy-peasy. It’s called working from home for a reason: Work is involved. And the perks can sometimes turn into a pest or a distraction. For example, our furry family members may bark and disrupt our workflow when the mail carrier visits. Or we may feel that warm breeze blowing through the open windows and long to go play outside.

Despite any downsides, working from home can be fulfilling and support a wonderful work-life integration lifestyle. Here are just some of the benefits:

Skip the commute

Think about how much time you spend in a car, on a train or bus getting to and from work. (Hint: It’s a total time-suck.) Perhaps you make the most of it by listening to a podcast in your car or reading a book while taking public transportation. Good for you for making lemonade. But just imagine using that time to enjoy a good tale in the comfort of your home—without having to ignore annoying commuters around you. And what about the mornings when it’s snowing or raining? Bad weather can wreak havoc on roads—and on your day.

Enjoy the home you’re paying for

Whether you live in a house, condo, townhouse or apartment, you like where you live, and you spend a lot of time and money taking care of it. Instead of just enjoying it during evenings and weekends, appreciate your haven throughout the week too. And who says you can’t light some candles or the fireplace during the “workday”? Hygge (pronounced “hoo-guh”), or living in a way that promotes comfort, contentment, and well-being, is gaining popularity among Americans. Why not make it part of your home-office culture?

Be there for family members when they need you

It seems odd to have to ask your boss for time off to take care of a family matter, and then feel stressed out about it. Shouldn’t your family be your number-one priority? When you work from home you can tend to the expected—and unexpected—family appointments or issues that come up.

Set your own schedule

Are you an early bird or a night owl? Are you more productive during the week or on weekends? Does it change from time to time depending on what’s going on in your personal life? The good news is when you work from home, you get to set your own schedule, keeping in mind your deadlines. Another perk: That barre class or pottery workshop that’s only offered at noon on Wednesdays? You don’t have to skip it when you’re the boss of your own schedule.

Block out tasks between work and household

If only working from home came with someone to do your chores and run your errands. (Having a home office is awesome but not that awesome.) That person is still you. However, when you remove your daily commute from your schedule, more time is added to your day to do these things. Blocking out an hour and a half to run to the grocery store or do some laundry is time well spent. And now it doesn’t have to wait for the weekend. When was the last time you were at the market at 2pm on a weekday? You’ll love the absence of long lines and wonder why you didn’t make the work-from-home switch years ago. Trust us, we did.

Visit your favorite coffee shop(s) 

Yes, working from home is exquisite and delightful. But we all need a change of scenery at times. (Just think, people who live in Paris still take vacations. And can you imagine a city more exquisite than this one?) That’s why you’ll want to scout out some neighborhood cafés and java joints to set up shop some days. And don’t limit yourself to just coffee shops. These days, there are so many places with free wi-fi: botanical gardens, local pubs, public libraries and parks. The world is your work space.

Remember those high heels we mentioned earlier? The work-from-home dress code may not call for them anymore, but strap on those babies when you meet your gal pals for happy hour. With your flexible schedule, you even might be able to start a little early.

Want to learn more about integrating your work and home life? Click here. 

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