While this topic may not seem to fit into our typical pre-engagement audience, it may be an issue which could affect your relationship if you choose to get married. Working from home changes the dynamic of home life and can (read: will) affect your relationship with your future spouse. It may improve your relationship, or it may not; but, either way, it is a good idea to consider the following points before you make the decision to trade your work clothes for PJs and a laptop!
- Your work is never done and you never “come home” from work. This may be more of a female problem than a male problem, but it is so difficult to focus on your work when there are piles of dirty clothes, dishes in the sink, and clutter everywhere. Those who work in offices, or pretty much anywhere besides home, can lock the door behind them each morning and not focus on the disaster they are leaving behind. When your office environment is also your domicile, you may feel compelled to stop what you’re doing to finish a chore, and then another, and then another. You can’t leave that mess for another day. After all, you work from home! How can you not have a super tidy house? (I could leave the mess for another day, but I know there are people who could not. ~wink~) Before you know it, it’s nightfall and you’re still not finished with your work day.
- Working in your pajamas is not all it’s cracked up to be. There is something motivating about showering, putting on real clothes, and heading out into the hustle and bustle of life. Though it was the hustle and bustle I was trying to avoid by working from home, I see now how that very stressor was also a motivator. When you retain the right to stay in your pajamas all day, your mind tends to keep you in a relaxed, I’m in no big rush, state of mind. I’ll enjoy one more cup of coffee. The work will be there when I finish it. When you first wake up and don’t have to immediately push yourself into high gear, you feel elated with your good fortune. I’m so blessed to work from home! When 2pm rolls around, you’re still in your pajamas, and you have barely scratched the surface of your work, you enviously daydream about former co-workers and how accomplished they must feel by this point in the day.
- Friends, family, and neighbors may not believe you have a “real” job thus expecting you to be available any time of day or night. Confession time; the phrases, “You don’t really work,” “You don’t have a job,” and “Since you don’t work…” may land you a black eye if you ever utter them to someone who works from home (or to a stay-at-home mom who works harder than most of us)! Just because no one sees us work certainly doesn’t mean we sit at home and eat bonbons all day. As long as we appear to be properly dressed and groomed, we are probably receiving pay for our work. ~smile~
- You may feel obligated to take on certain responsibilities others would not – because, after all, your schedule is flexible. Much like the joy of wearing pajamas all day, working from home often, though not always, affords us some flexibility. With the comfort of flexibility also comes the guilt. “There’s another project at church. I have so much to do, but I can go and others have to be at work during that time.” “He called me to help him move something again. This is becoming a pattern, but what can I say? I can help him. It’ll just throw my workday off by a few hours.”
- You run the risk of dragging your family into your work stress. This particular point does not resonate as much with me since Eric and I work together; however, many families live in the middle of Dad’s office or Mom’s studio. Without a good setup, some firm ground rules, and ironclad boundaries, a home office can come between families. “Why does Daddy yell into the phone sometimes?” “Why can’t I talk to Mommy when she’s in her office?” “Why do I have to keep my toys out of the front room when clients come over?” “Why do I always have to be quiet?” “Why does Dad always take calls at dinnertime?” “Why is Mom too busy to tuck me in at night?” Take some time to work through the logistics before turning your home space into your work space. It may be uncomfortable at first, but with some pre-planning, it does not have to be an exhausting transition. Make rules, for your family and yourself, and play by those rules.
- Facebook will always be there!!! Some days, I hate Facebook. I’ll catch myself mindlessly scrolling when I didn’t even intend to open Facebook. Social media is great for connecting; however, since we crave human interaction during our long, lonely work days, we can easily lose ourselves in a virtual world. Somehow, looking at pictures of our former boss’s daughter’s family vacation makes us feel slightly less alone.
- Unless you are naturally a scheduled person, you may find an incredible urge to procrastinate. Meet one of the world’s most skilled procrastinators. I simply amaze myself at times. How I can rationalize my way out of completing unpleasant “chores” is nothing short of a work of art. Just ask my mom and my husband. This has probably been my biggest challenge as a home worker (and was my biggest challenge as a home-schooler many moons ago). I’m thrilled to have the flexibility and the pajama mornings, but the work still must get done. This requires me to make myself sit down and do it, and that’s hard when there are so many other activities luring me into their folds.
- You may occasionally find yourself dreaming of water cooler chitchat, business lunches, and other social work events you used to take for granted. Office politics, endless meetings, and horrible parking situations may leave any social creature dreaming of the serene privacy of his or her own home. However, there is something to be said for the social fulfillment work brings into our lives. As introverted as I am, I would be lying if I said that I love being alone during the day. I do enjoy it at some level, but I look for opportunities to be with other people. Before you leave your current position, make sure you have other social outlets or you may feel depressed after a few months at home.
If you or your future spouse is ever given the opportunity to work from your home, think about the decision thoroughly. It’s tempting to only see the good (like I did), but there are certainly some downsides.
Prayerfully consider what works best for you both, and proceed from there! Given my personality, I would not trade working from home for going back into an office environment. Having less stress in my life has greatly improved the relationship between Eric and myself. However, working from home is not a fairytale either. Work is still work no matter where you are when you do it. ~smile~
How do you think working from home may affect your future marriage relationship?