It’s nice – working from home – except when it’s not.
Okay, yes, I’m writing this in my so-called pajamas (a royal blue oversized polartec pullover I bought on a cold day in Carmel a dozen years ago, over well-worn cotton pants and a long sleeve t-shirt). So?
So that means I’m not rushing to get showered, put together and fed before heading out into gray January day. But it also means my dog and I get to spend another day alone. And sometimes that gets old.
Don’t get me wrong, working from home has worked for me.
In April 1998 I moved my office from the Hancock Building in Chicago to a nice space behind my kitchen in a Lincoln Park condo. In spite of the fact my then husband said, “Only losers work at home,” (what a guy) that was one of my most successful years in business. Eight clients, six figures – from an office off the kitchen. But it took a lot of work to get there.
After Sears sold the subsidiary that was my employer it took a good three years for me to get used to working alone. The motivation was there, the clients were too. But I missed the camaraderie. I missed laughing about a couple of us showing up in the same red blazers and black skirts on Mondays. Missed team meetings where we brainstormed national PR campaigns. Missed the team. Period.
Just after Christmas 1995, I said goodbye to my office mates and went home. I told myself I’d take a few months off before starting my practice. My time off included hosting a world-class cold that kept me down for weeks. And after the cold subsided, I began to grieve.
I didn’t know I was grieving.”How long were you with that company?” a friend asked. “Sixteen years, and five in a similar job before that.” That’s a long time to be a team player, and now, the team was gone.
Working from home has meant finding my team wherever they are, and they are located around the country. It means finding the best talent for clients’ needs, without the overhead for a staff. My costs are lower than consultants with offices, assistants, electric bills.
It means having the flexility to write in bed at 6 am. To workout at 10 or noon. To walk my awesome dog. To focus for six or seven hours without interruption. No, I’m not tempted to watch Oprah (is she still one?) or go to the movies. But I’ll admit I’ll occasionally throw in a load of clothes, and I’m free to schedule an appointment when it suits my and my clients’ schedules.
There are pros and cons from working in a office or working from home. The biggest con for me is that while I have a nice home office with a great big window, it’s pretty gray out there these days, which can make me blue. But neither am I exposed to most of the heat-seeking germs out there this winter.
Enough of this blue polartec stuff. Time to shower and get to work. But first I get to walk my – un, team.