A Home Office Doesn't Have Walls - Therefore If You Are Home You *COULD* Be Doing Something Else For Somebody

Creating Boundaries When You Work From Home

I work from home.  To some people this means I am brave.  To some people this means I am stupid.  To some people this means I am crazy.  I probably am.  My office doesn't have walls and rarely does it get the respect of boundaries.  Boundaries don't exist because if I am home it means:

  • I can run a last minute errand for someone who works away from home
  • I can sign a package for a neighbor who works at an office downtown 
  • I can clean the house so it's spotless each and every day
  • I can take the car for an oil change because they only had a mid week afternoon appointment open

Most of the time I don't mind.  I don't mind that I can be more flexible for my kids and their schedule ... or to run errands so that the weekends aren't filled with trips to Costco and the pharmacy.  I get it.  I work from home.  I'm here.  I'm available.

But, why isn't it acceptable to say 'no, I can't' ... like, let's say your friend who has kids is in a bind and asks if you can take her kids for the day because her babysitter is sick.  What then?  If I say 'no' I am a bitch because she *knows* I'm home all day ... if I say 'yes' out of guilt then I just screwed over a client.  Nobody would expect me to stay home from the office in these cases ... but for the mom or dad who work from home it all of a sudden becomes more appropriate to expect more from them - that they should be available for other things.  As if 'work' can be secondary.

Heather, it's your job to set boundaries!  Yes.  Yes, it is ... but it's not me that needs to set them: it's other people.  Do you feel this way??  Why should it even be questioned?  If I am at my home desk working - that should be fully and totally understood.  As if I'm not even there.  It's other people that don't see that.  I'm here - they can see me - the house is a disaster: why didn't the house get cleaned?  I was working.  Why can't we take the doctor's appointment on Thursday at noon?  I will be working.  Why can't you watch my son on Friday, I'm really in a bind and I know you'll be home?  I will be working.

Sometimes it's just a look you get at the end of the day.  Whether it's your husband or wife or friend or mom that walk in the door and see the disaster that is your house ... a look that says: WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED HERE!?  They know you've been home all day ... they also know you work from home, but in this exact moment that isn't important because the house is in complete and utter chaos.  And the 'look' that (perhaps they can't help because it's just a natural reaction) they put out there is clear: it's disappointment, it's shock, it's a look that says: you were home ALL DAY LONG and the house still looks like this? 

This is a thing.  Don't say it's not.  So why blog about it?  Maybe I am being all moody and depressing on here because it's Friday and I am looking at my house and I can't see the floor.  Maybe I am bringing this post to negative town because I'm lacking sleep.  I'm not sure why ... but this has bugged me for YEARS and I just felt like putting it out there in case other people feel the same.

XO~ Heather