Work at home or work in an office – what’s easier?!

I’ve been working at home for myself for three and a half years and I have to say I love it. I love being able to take the kids (well, just one kid now) to school and pick them (him) up again. I love that I can go to sports days or assemblies if I need to. I love that I can sometimes even take a sneaky day off.

By comparison, work in an office was pretty full-on. I had to be out of the house earlier, I worked all day, then I came home to grumpy kids, tea to make, washing to do and a bit of mum taxi. It was a tricky balancing act and I’m not sure I ever got it quite right. I was always tired, always rushing and always felt I was failing. I hated the school holidays because I wanted to be off with my kids, but of course I had to work a lot of the time – because annual leave doesn’t give you 13 weeks a year like school holidays.

But when I worked in an office, I worked three days a week. The other days were completely clear of work. So I had time for the housework without worrying that I should be earning some money – or leaving it until the weekend, which is a particular dislike of mine. And I loved the camaraderie of the office – we had a good laugh. I’ve never known people quite like my colleagues and I know I never will again.

Now I work at home, I’m slightly stressed a lot of the time – too much work, not enough work, a bill hasn’t been paid… I often wake up early worrying about something or other.

I’m a technophobe and I panic if anything goes wrong with my computer. My shredder stopped working months ago and there are piles of paper on the floor waiting to be shredded. You don’t have that in an office, where the furniture is fit for purpose and you have an IT department to sort out computer niggles. At home I divide my time between the breakfast bar and a small desk in my dark spare room which wasn’t really designed for someone’s workplace.

work at home, work, work-life balance

But the school holidays are better, right? Actually, not so much. They’re another thing that makes me feel guilty. In an ideal world, my work would magically disappear for the duration of the holidays and come back to keep me nice and busy (with invoices paid quickly of course!) once the kids go back to school. But of course it doesn’t work like that. I have to work, then I feel guilty for ignoring the kids. I feel guilty that their holidays are boring. But I’m not getting paid holidays like I did in the old days, so I have no choice but to work.

So you see working at home isn’t 100% better than working in an office. Neither scenario is perfect for a parent.

But all things considered, despite the downsides, I am much happier working at home. My family needs that flexibility right now.


Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. Oh gosh I can totally relate to this Sarah. I 100 % prefer working at home, but that doesn’t mean it’s not tough! This is the first week I’ve felt on top of my work since the beginning of the school holidays but I did get to spend time with the family over the Summer whilst successfully putting most of my work off until September!

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    • It sounds like you’ve got the balance just about right in that case, but it can be rather stressful juggling it, can’t it? x

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  2. Ah, now the school holidays. Yes, they are a problem. Otherwise I prefer being home based. I’m much more efficient and I love working for myself. it’s all changed now my youngest is at school. I have more time to work and thus far, I’m loving it.

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    • That must feel very strange, but glad you’re loving it! I have a tendency to do domestic tasks during work time, but I would still much rather be at home.

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  3. I find I never switch off whenever I’m working from home and I seem to keep doing just one more thing. I love going into an office but wow the juggling is hard isn’t it? And I’m sure I somehow get through holidays by the seat of my pants!

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    • It’s funny how we all just about manage the holidays, even though it can be hard to juggle. I did used to love going into my office, but there was a lot of wasted time travelling etc. I’m definitely happier at home.

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  4. It’s funny how our needs and wants change isn’t it? I think I’ve got the perfect balance at the moment as I work in an office two days a week (two different offices!) and then work from home one day a week. It provides such flexibility but I still get the interaction that I crave. I’d never realised until reading your post just how perfect it is for me actually – thanks for the reminder of something to be grateful for! x

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    • That sounds like you’ve got a really good balance! It’s nice that you get a day at home working, and two days at home not working! I do miss having a day (or two!) off in the work, but being at home is so good for me on the whole. x

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