Home truths for home workers

1. You are the delivery person’s best friend

“Will you take this in? It’s for house number 45. And 71. A few streets away.”

I’m on first name terms with the Yodel man, the Hermes man, the TNT man…Christmas I had such a haul the neighbours had to sort through the pile and fend for themselves to find their delivered gifts. For those who didn’t emerge for days we had to have emergency mince pies on hand.

2. Ironing is interesting

As is emptying the dishwasher, hovering, completing the tax return form, mowing the lawn and sorting out books into colour order if there’s a task on the immediate to do list that doesn’t look appealing. Tidy room, tidy mind is a little more problematic when the only person ever clearing the said space is you.

3. Heating costs actual money

Obviously. But when you have to pay for it and you’re the only person in the house it feels like a luxury. Heating guilt = dressing gown on top of outfit, hat and double socks. “Is WebEx video or just phone!” shouted my panicked husband only today at one minute to conference call time….he’ll love me for sharing that. Teach him to read my posts and not just share or like (got to love LinkedIn stats to boost your relationship).

4. Boundaries become blurred

Others moan that having a phone back at home means it’s hard to switch off. But when you’ve the laptop, remote access, printer, all paperwork and the complete ability to do your job, deciding the work life balance becomes that bit trickier. Shut the door to the office (well, spare room) they say. Which you do; closing yourself in on the side with the laptop and working until 10pm as you might as well while it’s there.

5. Talking aloud is a must

Only problem is you then continue this when back in normal office environment and annoy everyone. “Right, now what am I writing. Oh yes…”

6. Conference calls may be interrupted by a poo

Not yours, and probably only if you have small kids I imagine. But ‘I neeeeeeeeeeeeeed a poo’ is an interruption you don’t have to manage if not home working. Word of advice: If you’re on a conference call, don’t ignore the first cry of child toilet trauma. From experience it will only occur again. And again. And again. Rising incrementally in volume so not only the people on the conference call can hear small person, but the world.

You’ll also discover that if someone is kindly looking after said small people in the house whilst you are working that the small people will still end up in ‘your’ room. And often both the grown-ups looking after them.

7. People ‘pop’ in

And expect you to be available as you’re working from home. Yes, because that noon tender submission time and 2pm media enquiry deadline magically extend when you’re not in the registered head office. Different time zone and all that.

8. A problem shared is a problem halved

Like broadband problems. In the office it’s an inconvenience – but at least there’s strength in numbers as you lobby the company to sort it asap and roll-out the contingency plan for clients and colleagues. When it’s just you and the rest of the world is moving on, then it hurts so much more. Technology is your best friend; and your worst enemy.

9. Laptops require power

Repeat x50: I must remember my laptop cable when leaving to go to the main office or client. I must remember to bring my laptop cable back with me when I go home. PC World shares should be mine.

10. In the house = soon will be the size of a house

At least in the office there’s public shame to stop you. But at home, there’s just the fridge. And you. Honestly if you phone and I miss the call, it’s not because I’m wolfing down chocolate so fast I can no longer physically talk. Promise. Home working honour.

Michelle Hallmark

About Michelle Hallmark

Leads our new business and client development strategy. Formerly our head of communications and a NCTJ and CIPR qualified news reporter with local, regional and national experience.
Michelle’s passion: snazzy shoes.