Wednesday, February 27, 2013


The Benefits and Drawbacks of Working at Home

Carolyn J. Rose

 A good friend is in line for a job with a company she worked for previously. Then, she had to commute across the Columbia River to Portland, Oregon. Now, she’ll be able to work from home in Vancouver, WA.

If you live near a MAJOR metropolitan area, I can almost hear you saying, “What’s the big deal? Commuting is far worse here in New York/Los Angeles/Chicago/etc.” But if you live in the Portland area, I can almost hear your empathetic sigh of relief. Commuting in and out of Portland sucks. Trying to time your trip to hit a window of opportunity that isn’t between the hours of 11 PM and 4 AM is like playing Russian roulette with five bullets instead of one.

Did I mention that it sucks?

 Oh, right, I did. Let’s get to the topic of this blog.

Working at home means no one in the next cubicle snapping gum, clipping toenails, tapping a pencil, squeaking a chair, or talking in an outdoor voice about in-laws, in-grown toenails, or insanity issues. It means you can play music, make mouth sounds, and swear all you want. On the downside, working without eavesdropping and/or annoying your co-workers can be soooo boring.

Working at home means no dress code. It means you can work in your pajamas, wear T-shirts with offensive slogans, and even skip the deodorant and put off showering until a time to be named later. Get too far into these habits though, and you run the risk of forgetting what you’re wearing, going out to run errands, and finding yourself accused of being racist or sexist, an exhibitionist or totally insensitive. Plus, personal hygiene can slip to the point where friends wear hazmat suits when they visit—if they visit.

Working at home means no one from the cleaning staff moves things around or vacuums up that loose change you’ve been meaning to crawl under the desk and retrieve. On the negative side, the cleaning staff is you. That means there’s no one to blame for the dust bunnies in the corners, the spider webs festooning the ceiling, and those pungent odors emanating from the kitchen and bathroom.

Working at home means less supervision and micro-managing; it means no one looking over your shoulder. Unfortunately, there’s also no one right there to offer advice. On the other hand, there’s no one to see you playing Farmville or Angry Birds.

Working from home, unless you have an extended family, means no on-site pool of people to go to lunch with. It means calling around and finding a lunch buddy, or snacking from breakfast until dinner instead of taking a genuine lunch break. But that’s not really a downside until you’re working in your pajamas not because you want to but because nothing else fits.

Working at home means no fire drills in the dead of winter. Unless you forget about that bacon frying on the stove and the curtains catch fire. But, then that wouldn’t be a drill, would it?

Got some thoughts about the joys of working from home? Leave a comment. Just don’t let the boss catch you doing it.


  1. Now, with Skype (sp?) I guess you have to dress appropriately from the chest up....and never stand up.

  2. I hadn't thought of that. Time to go buy some formal pajamas. And a wig.

  3. Or just put something over the webcam. "OH you can't see me? I don't know why? I can see you just fine :)"