As I mentioned in a previous post, I had been considering making the switch from "full-time" tele-therapy into a more part-time role. There are many reasons behind my choice, and I'd like to share a few of them with you. This being said, jumping into 100% working from home was something I thought I truly wanted. I'm going to list my reasons beneath each pro and con, too, for clarification. I have made the switch to full time in the schools and part time at home, but I wanted to explain my reasoning.
- spending the day at home with my dogs
During last school year, I had 2 (which has now grown to 3) dogs, who are heavily dependent on my presence. I barely left my house, and when I did, it was only for a short time. The puppies rarely leave my sight, except to get into trouble, and they are distressed when I'm gone. Working from home means that I don't have to hire a sitter or take them to puppy daycare, either. One or both of those would be a necessity, too, because they can't hold their bladders all day.
- no commute
Both a pro and a con. No commute means minimal separation from work. I bought a desktop in January for this very reason. I cannot separate and achieve a work/life balance. It's not in my Type A DNA. I dedicated our second guest room into a "home office" which helps a little, but not too much. No gas cost, though!
- flexible (somewhat) scheduling
For the most part, scheduling is in your hands. I did have a student whose family requested no morning sessions, which was a farewell to my half-hour lunch, but AH! what we do for our students. I did love that I could take a 15 minute break mid-day and spend my afternoons with my older students who didn't like to be up early anyways. It was nice not to worry about recess, lunch, or specials.
- you can't leave work
Anyone who knows me will agree: I can't leave work at work. Never have, maybe never will. I'm about as Type-A-ridden-with-generalized-anxiety as they come. Having my desktop sending me come on, Meg, you can do a little more work tonight vibes doesn't jive well with that hilarious work/life balance that everyone else seems to have (For the record, I don't believe in "work/life balance," because I cannot leave work at work no matter how hard I try, but at least my student files and materials are stuck an hour away when I'm at home).
- communicating only by phone/email
I know that I've made it clear that I prefer solitude, but communicating with coworkers solely by email with the occasional phone call, in a word, stinks. You can't "read" people the way you can read body language (I know, because pragmatics are so embedded in my caseload this year) in a face-to-face conversation. Also, if you don't have a phone number for a colleague, you essentially are waiting by your email endlessly, maybe to never receive a response.
- the monetary costs for additional licenses
Last year, I held 4 state licenses. Now that I'm part-time, I only hold 2. It doesn't seem like much, but that's an extra $500 in my pocket at license-expiration time (AKA the holiday season, when ASHA's $250 are also due).
- no coworkers
This one was big for me. Having no coworkers meant having no one to talk with about work. My boyfriend (love him!) listened to my complaints and worries for a while, but after a few months, he got sick of it. I knew he was getting more and more annoyed by the day, but I didn't have anyone I could just vent with about the frustrations of SLP.
- 8+ hours a day of "screen time"
I significantly try to limit my screen time (I say, as I'm typing this at my computer...), and I am a firm believer in keeping your phone in your pocket/purse at meals, though I do break that rule at times. Working remotely from my computer meant that I had to be accessible at all hours for anything, which doesn't go well with my limiting-technology philosophy.
Overall, I miss doing teletherapy and being at home, but for me, the cons outweighed the pros for a full-time, 30-40 hour workweek from home.
What do you think? What are your pros and cons about working from home?
The Cyber Speechie