Working from Home is Not a “Luxury”

Like millions of people around the world, I have successfully worked from home for many years – since 1998 to be exact. As a remote worker, I believe my efficiency, availability and output far exceeds the vast majority of traditional workers. I’m not plagued by office politics, constant interruptions and distractions or a draining commute. What I am plagued by, however, is the condescending comments often made by those who have either never worked from home or worked from home unsuccessfully.

For me, the most offensive comment is that working from home is a “luxury.” First, let’s take a look at the dictionary definition of this word courtesy of TheFreeDictionary.com:

As you can clearly see, working from home does not fit the definition of being a luxury in any way, shape or form. If by luxury you mean a perk, paleeze. A perk would be a gym membership or free beer. Working from home is a location. We still have desks, uncomfortable chairs, stare at computer screens all day and participate in all sorts of conference calls, webinars and meetings. We’re not at home working from a backyard pool or Jacuzzi tub – or goofing off all day (at least not those of us with a strong work ethic and conscience).

Still think working from home is a luxury? Let me break it down for you some more:

  • While you’re enjoying a nice catered lunch courtesy of the company, I’m hoofing down two-day old lasagna-flavored Hamburger Helper while never disconnecting from the IM/chat service that keeps me connected to the outside world.
  • You’re in the company of others all day. Whether to talk about a project, brainstorm ideas or just laugh about a joke, you have people around you. I work in isolation a good chunk of the time. The rest of the time my office bud is a 7-month-old who speaks babbleish. Ever try talking about the Panda algorithm change with someone who still poops their pants? It does get lonely working from home.
  • I constantly struggle to prove myself and make sure that I’m “visible” from afar. I don’t want anyone to EVER think that I’m taking advantage of being out of view or not getting shit done. I work – even in my sleep sometimes. You – the in-office worker – have comfort in knowing that you are there, in-person – visible to co-workers and, more importantly, your boss.
  • You’re in earshot of important company updates and pieces of info that lend incredible insight into where the company might be headed or what the future looks like for all of us. I’m usually last to know or I find out by chance through the grapevine.
  • I have a hard time disconnecting or finding a good work/life balance because work is always right there in front of my face. Unless you plan on doing an office overnighter, there is a strong probability that you get in at a reasonable hour and leave at a reasonable hour.
  • While you’re able to take part in company-wide (not exactly) outings and events during business hours, I’M STILL WORKING! I’m not riding the coaster at the nearest theme park or participating in a corporate softball game. My fun only happens off-hours.

Working from home is not a luxury by definition. It does have its advantages, but so does working in an office environment.

I’m thankful for being a remote worker (even though there is a certain stigma attached to it and many misconceptions, I consider it to be a privilege and the best of both worlds), but in the grand scheme of things, unless a company has only one location and all employees work from there, we are all remote employees. Satellite offices are detached from corporate headquarters. Suppliers in one country fulfill orders for a company in another. Individual employees telecommute from their homes here, there and everywhere. It’s a remote world.

Posted on by Crystal in MommiFried Extras

46 Responses to Working from Home is Not a “Luxury”

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  2. Mariann

    OMG! There is nothing more truer than this post! I think working from home is one of the hardest things one can do! #NoWalkInThePark
    Mariann recently posted..Numbers Trumps Feelings Part IMy Profile

    • Crystal

      Agreed! It has its perks for sure, but it can also be a tough working environment. 🙂

  3. ScentSeller

    I love this! I have been on both sides, and those who have never worked from home are grossly mistaken quite often. Especially in my line of work; where I am my own boss, regulating my own hours and in turn generating my own salary by my productivity.

  4. Kelly - Two Kids Cooking and More

    Although I totally agree that working from home is far from luxurious, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I only work from home every other week (when I have my kids). But the savings on travel time alone are worth sooo much to me. I’ll take the leftover lasagna over the catered lunch any day if I can avoid an extra hour in rush hour traffic ;D

  5. Denise Terry

    Absolutely love this post, it’s true working from home is NOT a luxury – it’s “a location”. I feel fortunate I work from home a few days a week, but also work in a corporate office with my clients a couple of days a week – so best of both worlds. Each has tradeoffs, and while I don’t love the traffic and commute I do love connecting with people and teams face to face. Working from home is made easier with web meetings and video conferencing, but it’s not for everybody!

  6. Mrs. Weber

    Love this! I do love working from home, but I do miss company lunches/talking to adults immensely! And it is SUPER hard to disconnect, like ever.

  7. Trish Sammer Johnston

    No kidding! Today, while all my friends were luxuriating around the greater Philly area, waiting to get taken down by the hurricane, I was juggling my kids and working — and waiting to get taken down by the hurricane.

    There are no “real” days off in this telecommuter’s world.

    Good post. Thanks!
    Trish Sammer Johnston recently posted..My first book review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar ChildrenMy Profile

  8. Cindy

    When I was a virtual employee, my comment was always:

    “Work is what I do, not where I go.”
    Cindy recently posted..Word Verification Turned OnMy Profile

  9. Jamee Tenzer

    This is terrific. I work at home and have for many years. Every so often as I find myself distracted by piles of laundry or wishing I could go to the office kitchen and waste some time eating stale donuts, I remember how lucky I am to have this option – to work at home. Thank you for the terrific report on the realities of working at home! Jamee Tenzer, PCC http://www.shesarealmother.com
    Jamee Tenzer recently posted..How To Turn Your Kitchen Table Start Up Into a Thriving Business – Part TwoMy Profile

  10. Brian

    You’re darn right that it’s not a luxury working from home! However, working from home does have it’s perks, but they seem to be over-glorified by people who’ve never actually tried it.

    I used to do freelance work online, working from my home office (Or sometimes just my bedroom), but I find that after awhile it becomes somewhat unfulfilling. Maybe that’s just me, and I have some deeper drive to accomplish something “more” than most people have.

    So I decided to start up an online business. Despite how difficult it can be to work at home, it was actually surprisingly easy to get started. Since I stayed committed to it, I began achieving results and now work from home, full-time, but on MY time.

    I got my start after watching a video from this website and then using the training that it provided.

    You can go check it out here:

    http://www.incrediblemotivation.com/spbc

    If you’re happy with being an employee, then that’s great, and don’t ever quit if that’s your passion! As for me, I much prefer the freedom of building my own business and earning more money than any job has ever paid me. 🙂

    Working from home might be difficult, especially trying to adapt to it at first, but if you’ve got the self-discipline to make it work, I think you’ll really enjoy it in the long run.

  11. Cyndee Hopkins

    Well said!

  12. Christine

    This is perfect. I took a job about 10 years ago and because I didn’t want to deal with a terrible Friday commute I said I would only accept the offer if it included Friday’s working from home. I felt like I had to work even harder so I would’t chance loosing it. Now in a different job after two years I got to work from home 1 day a week and then when I got a huge increase in work said I wanted a 2nd. So I work at home Thursday and Friday because they are usually the worst commuting days. Forgot to mention when I took my current job I was out of work and didn’t have as much negotiating power to get the work from home time up fornt. Also my manager (and team) is in another state and he works from home 2 days a week as well.

  13. Rush Mayo

    Absolutely right on. One thing to add is the dreaded cleaning. Not only do offices have cleaners but at home you are the cleaner, you also have to cleaner your whole home when you do clean. And if there’s laundry on the counter then you may as well skip breakfast!
    Rush Mayo recently posted..The Latest Web Marketing Trends – Should I Care?My Profile

  14. V.V. Vaymin

    Haha, yes I agree. I’ve had the privilege of working from home now for almost two years. I love it, don’t get me wrong but there are definitely disadvantages that need to be pointed out. Glad you did.

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  16. Denise

    Well, you could work in the yard if your wifi reaches… I’ve tested mine and it gets all the way to the kid’s playhouse. 🙂
    Denise recently posted..Baptist Church in St. Louis Plans Toy Gun Buy BackMy Profile

  17. Jeanette

    Hi – I found your blog via SITS! I really enjoyed this post! I have two jobs (one which requires me to work in an office, and one which allows me to work from home). I honestly feel like I’m far more productive working from my home office since much of what I do involves writing and requires a quiet environment. There’s also something to be said for being able to save the one hour plus I would spend on the road commuting and using that time to produce more work for my company instead.

  18. Ugochi

    It is not luxury at all, but it is the highest paid job on earth!
    Congratulations on being featured today at SITS.
    Enjoy your day!
    Ugochi recently posted..TIME AFTER TIMEMy Profile

  19. Kim@Co-Pilot Mom

    I love your thoughts on this. Working from home is still work. And I totally agree that it is harder to balance because work is right “there” in front of you all the time.
    Kim@Co-Pilot Mom recently posted..Rule BenderMy Profile

  20. Suzanne

    I admire anyone who works from home. It’s tough. It doesn’t seem like a luxury to me AT ALL, for all the reasons you mentioned.
    Happy SITS day! Enjoy it!

  21. Michelle

    Visiting from SITS! You’re absolutely right…I have worked in the office and worked from home and working from home is not easy. Working from home, I always found myself working well after office hours…its much easier to unplug when you leave an office vs when your office never leaves you! Kudos to you – great post!
    Michelle recently posted..Preserving Your Personal History: Does the Delete Button Have the Power to Change the Past?My Profile

  22. Nicole Nenninger

    Great post! I’m visiting from SITS and enjoyed reading your article. I also work from home with all kinds of distractions! My biggest responsibility, however, is chauffeuring my kids to and from school 1/2 hour away–with their activities I am sometimes on the road for 7 hours a day. I am soooooo glad I have the flexibility to be there for them, but it makes scheduling a regular work day impossible. I give you a whole lot of credit and I take it you don’t work for Yahoo or you’d be commuting back into work now–but that’s a whole new article to write about–hmmm…might use that!
    Nicole Nenninger recently posted..Surviving or Thriving–Which One Describes You?My Profile

  23. Emily @ TheBusyMomsDiet

    I’m actually looking for a telecommuting job right now so I’m glad I read your perspective. Thanks! Happy SITS Day!
    Emily @ TheBusyMomsDiet recently posted..Weekly Weigh In: Week 17My Profile

  24. Mothering From Scratch

    {Melinda} Amen, sister!! I’ve been a WAHM since 1996 and honestly, I do it to be flexible for my kids. Period. It would be MUCH easier to have structured hours and all the advantages that you described above. When your office is in your home, you always feel like you’re at work. That has been a struggle for me for 16 years. Don’t get me wrong, I’d do it all again because it’s been great to have the flexibility to adjust my hours when my kids need me. But, I agree … it is not a luxury!

    Happy SITS Day!

  25. Nellie

    I completely agree, every two weeks or so I work from home because the commute burns me out, but when I am at home I am wayyy more focused than I am at work. I respond to every email in record time, im checking voicemail every 5 minutes, just to prove that I’m not home sleeping. I totally agree with all of this post! Enjoy your SITS day!
    Nellie recently posted..Weekly Wednesday Workout: Decline Pushup With Side CrunchMy Profile

  26. Sheila Skillingstead

    Thanks for the post. I’ve never worked from home and I know it would be different. As a teacher it would be like Facebook time with students. I know that would not be me. Enjoy your SITS Day.
    Sheila Skillingstead recently posted..When is a heroine not a heroine?My Profile

  27. another jennifer

    This is great. I work from my home for myself. Though some may think I have all the time in the world to get things done, the truth is that I never stop working! Luxury it is not, though I do feel lucky that I don’t have to deal with office politics and a commute.

    Happy SITS Day!
    another jennifer recently posted..Wordless Wednesday: Ski Lift, Sugarloaf USAMy Profile

  28. Christa the BabbyMama

    I love your take on this. I’m a freelancer and work from home, and I swear people think I just have the most fabulous life because of it. Um, no. I’m working just like you.

    Happy SITS Day 🙂
    Christa the BabbyMama recently posted..Almost Wordless Wednesday: Generations and GenerationsMy Profile

  29. Kelly

    Recently my husband asked if I could work from home one day a week to minimize out daycare cost. I tried to explain to him that it was probably not a great option because if I am home with the baby (currently 3.5 months) I probably won’t be able to get anything done. My job requires me to be at the computer at all times! So, while I would prefer not to commute I don’t think working from home is a “luxury.” Happy SITS Day!
    Kelly recently posted..A Hoppy Bottoms Giveaway: Win an Amazon Gift Certificate!My Profile

  30. Bev

    I agree! While I enjoy the flexibility of working from home, I certainly wouldn’t call it a luxury. Since I still have such a new business, I’m constantly working (even to a lesser degree when I’m on vacation). Great post, and happy SITS day!
    Bev recently posted..Welcome to the Hotel California: 365Project Days 51-57My Profile

  31. Venassa

    I’ve never worked from home, but I would have to agree. I love my quiet, comfy office at work. Although in my case, the food would be better at home.
    Venassa recently posted..I’m Wondering WednesdayMy Profile

  32. Kristen

    This is very true! I will be the first to admit that I’m pretty sure I would not make a good work from home person. I think I get distracted too easily. And when I’m home, my brain has this mindset that it’s time to relax, not work.
    Kristen recently posted..I spoke too soonMy Profile

  33. andrea

    It’s definitely not a luxury, but Lawd knows I’d like it as an option. Happy SITS day!
    andrea recently posted..BeQuoted – Quote of the WeekMy Profile

  34. Amy

    SO TRUE. I work from home and it never ever stops. My mind is always on!

    Stopping by from SITS!
    Amy recently posted..So…What Now?My Profile

  35. Danielle

    do you work in NYC LOL? I have a nonexistent work-life balance thanks to a Blackberry and a 24/7 work environment!
    Danielle recently posted..Weeknight Dinner: Pasta PuttanescaMy Profile

  36. Beth (OMG! Yummy)

    Nice post. You actually hit on some of the reasons that I think the CEO of Yahoo is banning telecommuting but you also hit on many of the reasons that it is vital. In the end it is all about balance and good judgement. also good people mgmt. If working from home is harming Yahoo, it’s because they were not judicious in determining what jobs and how often is a good balance for the work being done. In the end, companies need to harness their employees strongest skill sets, no matter where they are and facilitate interaction when needed. Good management of employees should override extreme mandates. Thanks for speaking out on an important topic.

    I hope you are having a great SITS day!!!
    Beth (OMG! Yummy) recently posted..Bursting with Flavor and Color: Roasted Chicken with Clementines, Onion, Fennel, and VermouthMy Profile

  37. Tracy Larson

    You’re totally right on with this! Love it. Happy SITS Day!
    Tracy Larson recently posted..Wisdom for New Moms – What Our Panelists Wish They Would Have KnownMy Profile

  38. Nicole

    I agree!! I have done a few different working situations with my job (all the same job) and working at home is no walk in the park! People sure think it is though…
    Nicole recently posted..Tuesday’s Love and I’m Better Off Without Lists…My Profile

  39. KG

    OMG! You’re absolutely right. I own my own business but because I have very little employees, I often don’t even speak to them daily. It gets hard to work on inventory for a store when you have to stop because your toddler gets hungry or when you looked down at your comp, he’s throwing balls at the TV.
    Most people that work go home and leave work at work, but we are always surrounded by it so if an idea or a problem arises at 9pm, more often than not, we are going to tend to it.
    KG recently posted..Moving Mondays: Antique PiecesMy Profile

  40. Sandee Harned

    You mean to say that you get distracted when a wiggly child climbs on to your lap to play leappad, while you are trying to work on the computer? Oh, I can’t relate to that. Nope not at all. Wait…what was I talking about, the inane music from Roly Poly Picnic is right in my ear. I can’t think straight.

  41. a happier girl

    I worked at home for a year and my husband was always calling me trying to convince me to take care of stuff around the house as if I didn’t have an actual job and stuff that had to get done!
    a happier girl recently posted..Attendance is no longer mandatoryMy Profile

  42. Rabia @ TheLiebers

    I am facing the possibility of working from home for the summer, but I can’t tell if people here are snickering about it being like having the summer off, or if they really think I would have anything to do! My main responsibilities are student supervision and taking care of the book collection. Because of construction our library will be off limits for the summer. I have no idea what I’m going to do!

  43. Jean Lynd

    As a SAHM, agreed! Happy SITS day 😉
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  44. homejobsbymom

    I love this because it’s so true. I do love working from home but just like anything it can make you want to pull your hair out too

  45. Foxy Wine Pocket

    People are so quick to judge… when they have no idea what they are talking about.
    Foxy Wine Pocket recently posted..Know Your NutsMy Profile

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