The Case Against Working at Home

We could use more separation between work and life. Are you sure working from home is such a good idea?

I completely get the utopian fantasy of working from home: the baby napping in his crib in the next room, the gold light filtering in through the window, a tagine made with vegetables from the farmers market simmering on the stove, while you are answering emails and brainstorming ideas, the dream of modern connected life. But is that the way it really works out?

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  • Small Timer

    We began a home-based business over thirty years ago, but I held jobs outside the home. We sold our other business just over two years ago. I now work at home with my husband at our home-based business. I in my office in the house, he in his out there in a cabin in the yard. My enviable workplace finds me at this computer in my little office, sunlight streaming in, the kitchen down the hall, the garden outside these walls. We live in the country with vegetable garden, fruit trees, a small pond, wildlife and changing seasons. So much is possible for a small business with the Internet at your side!

    Yet, I am socially deprived and disconnected from my local community, it’s needs, its rhythms. It is difficult to discipline myself to the work at hand: dust accumulates on the dresser in the next room, the bathroom could use a little cleaning, my neighbor drops by with her dog.

    Yes, there is something idyllic about it: lunch is relaxed, the cat is friendly, I can change the laundry from the washer to the dryer in a minute and that’s all done by 5:00. And, even though we are productive here—good work is accomplished, products are made and shipped all over the world–I do not benefit from an enviable synergy. I am diminished working at home. If there is a balance, I have yet to dial my workday to that good tune.