Could Working From Home Work For You?
By Kate Fineske
As the Assistant Executive Director of Mom-mentum I oversee much of our organization’s communications and programming. One thing many people don’t know about the organization that manages this blog is that we don’t just talk about flexible work—we live it day in and day out. About a year and a half ago, Mom-mentum closed our physical offices to practice what we preach—flexibility and life integration. Our “virtual offices” are headquartered on Long Island in New York where a bulk of our staff lives, however I work from my home in northern Ohio.
Although the work I do can be both challenging and time consuming, I love the flexibility my job offers. Early morning is when I’m most productive. I can get twice as much done between the hours of 5 and 7:30 a.m. than any other time of the day. Fortunately, I have a job that allows me the flexibility to prioritize work preferences and my realities of daily life as a mother of three.
Although working from home is not for everyone, for me it works! And this is why…
During my time as a work-from-home executive, I’ve found there tends to be two very distinct trains of thought from other mothers in their understanding of my own full time, work-from-home, flexible job:
- Those who question how I get anything done (ie: “How do you do it? It must take a lot of discipline? I could never work from home and be productive!”)
- Those who longingly think of it as a professional utopia: (ie: “I wish I could work from home! You’re so lucky! It must be great to keep up with laundry and not worry about childcare?”)
For me, both these outlooks have occasional bits of truth in them in varying degrees. Yet, in direct response to these generalized thoughts, here is why working from home works for me…~
- YES: It takes discipline. I’ll admit, I DO attempt to keep up with the never ending piles of laundry during the day—but that is about it. Monday through Friday, between the hours of 8:45 a.m. and 3:45 p.m. I work. I also flex time (typically early mornings) to get everything accomplished. My commitment to these hours makes getting work done a reality.
- NO: Childcare is not optional. Affordable, quality childcare has always been the largest factor driving (or hindering) my professional success. When I first began working from home, I somehow was under the assumption that childcare was a “want” but not a necessity. Over time, I found this to be unrealistic. Being an effective employee means prioritizing work—and I just can’t prioritize my work without someone to care for my kids.
- YES: Productivity is possible, but only because of flexibility and support. Working from home is not anti-productive, for me productivity increases because I can use my time wisely. Our family of 5 is involved with a plethora of activities. Combining 4 seasons with 3 kids and 2 working parents tends to create AT MINIMUM 1 activity per day. When you mix in illnesses, birthdays, holidays, and work—our family’s schedule can get downright ugly. A flexibility schedule, the full time support of my husband, and a some absolutely amazing carpools is the glue that holds it all together.~
I do feel fortunate in my current professional arrangement. I’m passionate about my job, and I am driven by my ability to do it with flexibility from the comforts of home. I am a better mother because I’ve found a way to maintain my professional identity—something I’ve found to be very important to me. Yet, just as importantly, I am a MUCH better professional because I have the option of flexibility and the opportunity to work from home.
Working from home just works for me. Could it work for you?
Leave a Comment: Do you work from home or wish you had the opportunity to work from home? Does working from home work for you or seem to cause more of a headache? What are the challenges and/or advantages from your experience in working from home vs. working in an office?
Kate Fineske is the mother of 3 children (currently ranging in ages between 6 and 13) and the Assistant Executive Director of Mom-mentum. In her free time, Kate enjoys spending time with her husband and three children, traveling, biking and reading. In addition she is a committed community volunteer serving on numerous boards and co-facilitating the Mothers’ Center of Greater Toledo’s Executive Mommas Group—a monthly discussion group meant to encourage conversation among mothers on work, life and parenting.