For many moms, working from home may seem like the dream job. As with everything in life, however, there are two sides to every story, and setting up your office in your home isn't any different. There are both pros and cons to transforming part of your home into your workplace, and it isn't a lifestyle which suits everyone.
Pros of Being a Work at Home Mom
Working from home has many advantages. You will find that you have more free time, you can be more flexible, and you can even save money — all great things for us moms.
Not commuting to the office can save you time and money. It can also help reduce your carbon footprint, as you won't need to drive or take the bus to work. Less commuting can even help reduce your stress levels.
You can also save a lot of time and money. Because you aren't commuting as much, you can use the time saved to do other things. Moreover, you will save money from not having to pay to commute to work. You can also write off some of your home expenses in your taxes.
More Family Time
Being close to their family is important. By working from home, you can be available when help is needed. If your job is flexible, you can arrange your work schedule around your family's schedule and have more time to spend with your family.
There's a lot more flexibility in general when you work from home. You get to choose when and how you work so you have much more control over your time. You can usually also decide on your own working times depending on when you're the most productive. You can also choose what you want to wear and create an environment that stimulates productivity and creativity.
If you work in a busy office, you may have people regularly stopping by your desk and interrupting your workflow. At home, you might still have distractions (esp if your kids are at home with you) but it's slightly easier to shut yourself off from the world to concentrate on your work, esp if you have some help with the kids during that time. Fewer distractions means that you can be more efficient and get a lot more done in a shorter space of time.
Cons of Being a Work at Home Mom
Unfortunately, it's not all good news. It takes a certain degree of self-discipline to maintain a healthy work-life balance, and not everyone can do it. If you're able to maintain a good level of productivity, then you may find that the pros far outweigh the cons.
I know we just said there will be less distractions but you may find that there are more distractions at home than you might have had at work. Instead of co-workers interrupting your workflow, you may find that the kids, dogs, laundry, Facebook and a million other things distract you. Plus one of the most common misconceptions is that you will be able to magically take care of the kids AND work at the same time. This very rarely works out well — likely you'll need help with the kids while you work or at least to schedule your work when they're asleep.
Less Human Contact
Some people thrive when they are in contact with other people; they may find working from home to be lonely and the lack of human contact isolating. If you're a "people person," then you may find working from home to be difficult. Some moms really enjoy going back to work so they can have adult time again.
One of the biggest reasons for wanting to work at home is the idea that it is less stressful. This may be true for many people, but working from home can still be quite stressful at times. Plus it's much easier to let work creep into your personal time. You may find that you're working more hours than ever — answering work emails during playdates or in the wee hours of the night. While it's difficult, it's important to try to keep your professional and personal lives as separate as possible, even if they are all occurring in the same space.
When you don't have to go to the office, there is usually no pressure to start work at any particular time or keep at it for a fixed amount of time. It's can be tempting to do the million other things a mom always has on her to-do list (leisurely trip to Target, anyone?) and ever actually get down to work. It's important that you have the self-discipline to maintain your productivity even when no one else is looking over your shoulder.
There's a ton of reasons why working from home is great for many people — from more flexibility to less stress. However, it's not a one-size-fits-all solution. If you're easily distracted, like the human interactions of the work place or just prefer more structure in your life, you might prefer staying in an office environment. There's a lot to consider but one thing is for sure: you need a high level of self-discipline to be productive when you work from home.