Like all things, working from home has pros and cons. A lot of people have some misconceptions about it. For example, people sometimes share their pity for me by saying, “It must be really lonely.” Trust me, if it was lonely, I wouldn’t do it. Extreme extrovert speaking here. Loneliness could be a condition for other people who work from home, depending on their job and company culture. But no matter what, people who work from home have some things in common. Here’s my guide to the reality of working from home: The Holiday Gift Edition.
Food and Company
When you work from home, it’s not just easy to work too much, it’s as natural as breathing in and out. This is definitely not limited to people who work from home, but it’s a more persistent trap for us. That last email, those files that just came in and that subject you long to research (but can never find time)—when you work from home, they’re right here. I know I shouldn’t work any more, but THEY’RE RIGHT HERE.
Even people who are good at setting clear boundaries probably eat lunch at their desk a lot. And this isn’t healthy. Aside from it being good practice to leave your house at least once each day, stepping away offers a critical fresh perspective. It’s also great networking. And fresh air never hurt anyone, either.
Treat your favorite friend who works from home to lunch away from the office. If you’re feeling especially generous, invite another person with mutual interests (either business or personal). This idea is my personal favorite (see “extreme extrovert” comment above).
Remote-Controlled Space Heater
It’s possible your friends and family who work from home don’t need this. However, I can’t imagine how I ever lived without it. My office is cold even when it’s warm enough to work from my hammock. Yeah… I can’t help it. When people tell me they assume my job makes me lonely, I throw out that I can attend meetings from my hammock. I’m petty like that.
Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot
Few things stress me out more than when my internet goes out. That’s how I go to work. A broken internet connection is like a sick day, without the healing. I get behind, I can’t talk to my colleagues and it’s impossible to know what’s going on with my projects. And I don’t care what provider you have, telling them you work from home never gets you a faster solution. They’ll try to sell you a bunch of upgrades you don’t need, though.
3-D Zombie Screen Saver
This one might not be universally appealing, but when I need to percolate ideas, I drag my mouse to the corner and let the zombies fight it out. As a member of an all-virtual team, I spend a lot of time in front of my computer. Anything that helps me get more out of my experience and have a little fun is a great addition to my workday.
Month in a Co-Working Space
Depending on their job (and personality), a co-working space might be something they’d like to try. Most offer affordable monthly rates. You take away all of the risk by purchasing the first month. For this gift, it’s probably a good idea to try to find if it would be welcome ahead of time.
It’s possible your friends like the idea but think they can’t afford it or don’t have time to investigate their options. There’s almost always great coffee and networking, and it offers a much needed change of scenery.
Do you work from home? What would brighten your holidays?