Two households and working from home: pros and cons.

It’s been about two months since A. moved to Switzerland. At about the same time I took over our Moscow team, which meant more calls, more virtual relationships, longer hours and more working from home (aka WFH).

Pros Cons
Home office/study to myself No destructions -> ending up doing more work that could wait till tomorrow
No coordination over grocery shopping lists No help with errands, car & house maintenance
Less cooking (even with my limited cooking involvement) Why didn’t I lose any weight then?
More space to self (e.g. make-up stuff moved into bedroom, even longer hours spent in the bathroom) None 🙂
Less disputes over parenting (I am always right anyway) No extra parenting pressure when needed
Less wine-drinking-and-talking-before-going-to-bed Less wine-drinking-and-talking-before-going-to-bed
No disputes over room temperature or blinders up/down What if there is a mice in the house?

Here is what I learned thus far about WFH:

  • Always use two computers, one privately (shopping and Netflix) and another one for work. It has nothing to do with employer spying on you (you never know, but I was not visiting any of those special sites… Actually, not true – I was visiting one of those special sites for work and found them super compliant… did you know that when a female-owned credit card is used for buying sex-related services online, in ~90% it’s fraud?). Anyway, when I just started working more from home, I kept using my business laptop for personal things in the evenings, but e-mails kept coming and coming, and it was too easy to slip, keep working and not really rest.
  • Set time limits. When you WFH, there is a tendency to lose track of what really needs to be done today versus a little extra that you can still do today (because you are a superwoman or whatever) – there is no cutoff when everyone leaves the office and says goodbye and you follow suit, get your things and drive home. Work may be eating up the time you normally use for paying invoices, doing tax declarations, ordering groceries or booking Xmas vacations. Again, longer hours + absence of external boundaries can lead to poor time management. I forced myself to set a cutoff time, it can be different every day, depending on the schedule, and it can be even in the middle of the day for a few hours, but this is a must. There has to be a time, when you log off and do your own things (on your personal laptop).
  • Dress comfortably, but watch it. Even though I save at least 2 hours a day on commuting and makeup, in the beginning I found myself having less time for sport and/or going out. It’s so comfy to just stay home. I still don’t feel the need to do the full makeup or dress up on the days I work from home (Lululemon is perfect for driving Diana to school, going for a run, getting back to work or curling on the sofa with a new Kindle book), though it can be a slippery sartorial slop if you don’t watch it carefully.
  • When to get to the office or work from home? Always try to go to the office, when there is a big presentation, large group/committee meeting, team meeting, big-boss-visiting meeting, potentially contagious meeting or 1:1 with your boss (assuming your boss is in the office). In some cases, I go to the office just for a few hours to attend one or more of the aforementioned meetings, then pick up Diana on my way back and continue from home afterwards. There is an unquestionable value in office networking, power lunches, gossips, coffee machine chats and showing off your new Celine handbag 🙂
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