I am a bit of an old soul and tend to rail against modernity, all while surfing the web, drinking coffee (sourced thousands of miles away) in my air conditioned office.
Yes, I am spoiled. I complain about the ills of society, yet I refuse to give up my toilet and instant access to the latest Avengers film.
One of the most amazing modern perks is the ability of working from home.
The internet has opened the world market and jobs that were once limited to one geographic area and are now available for people with the skill and initiative to pursue them.
I recently became one of those privileged folks that has been able leave the 9-5 office job and enter the exciting world of the “work from home Dad”. I will admit, I am a bit nuts, while many dads cheerfully enter the rat race for peace and quiet, I have elected to be home full time with the world’s smallest most off key rock band. 😉
While there were some friends and former co-workers who were as excited for me to start as I was, being a Dad with three kids (ages 4 and under and one on the way), I got a lot of raised eyebrows about how I expected to be able to do this… I kind of wondered myself.
Here are 10 ‘Pros and Cons’ of working from home as a Dad:
- Extremely attractive co-worker
- Flexible work schedule
- Treated like an adult who knows how to get their work done
- More togetherness with family
- Participate more in daily parenting
- Able to help my wife in home tasks
- Able to take advantage of the mid-weeks specials ( for example ½ price zoo days)
- Can run errands during non-peak hours
- Schedule routine doctors appointments without using up sick leave or personal days
- Overall sense of autonomy
- Extremely attractive co-worker 😉
- A flexible schedule can blur the line between “work” and “private time”
- Unable to bounce work questions off other co-workers
- Lack of separation between home and work
- While independence is super cool you are accountable for your own output (on second thought maybe this goes back to pro list)
- You have to participate in the daily parenting activities
- There are distractions at home even outside of kid stuff and you have to be disciplined to make the work happen.
I could not even come up with 10 items for the con list!
Maybe I will discover them in time, but in my case, the Pros far outweigh the Cons. Of course some could argue that all my pros can be reversed into cons but I will ignore the cynics for now.
Right off the bat I appreciated the awesomeness in managing my time in a way that made sense to me. I can take a break when mentally fatigued without someone peering over my shoulder or watching me on some Microsoft tracking system. I am able to work when I am fresher and stop when I am tired. I can go to the store during non-peak hours or babysit the kids when my wife has an appointment. I’m able to save time and de-stress my day in ways I was unable to before.
I could work in my PJ’s and nobody would be the wiser….. I don’t, but I could.
On the flip side, being at home all the time can be a challenge as well. Your entire home can start to feel like a more comfortable cubicle if you are not careful. Your new subordinates are often rude, condescending and have no problem commenting on your weight and are always questioning your decisions. Also, there is no HR to complain to when they steal your lunch from the fridge or backwash into your coffee.
Perhaps more of a challenge is staying in your own lane. Your spouse has her own system and schedule and it is just as much her domain as it is yours. I am also as much a distraction/interruption to the flow of my wife’s day as the kids and she can be to mine. Sometimes parental involvement is necessary, usually at the most difficult or inconvenient times.
Then there are distractions
Kids are of course needy, it comes with the territory. There is also housework, chores, errands and even fun things like the park or zoo. The lack of supervision and the availability of social media, Netflix, and Amazon can be quite a temptation as well. Fortunately, however I have kids and so that nixes the amount of time I can waste away on useless activity.
For those who get an opportunity to work from home, I highly recommend it
You have to be pretty self disciplined and it can be a challenge to be focused, but I have really enjoyed being an integral part of my family’s day.