When you tell people you’re working from home while raising a small bub, you can generally see their eyes fizz with envy: no commute, no time-keeping, no boss, no irritating colleagues boring you with anecdotes of what they did at the weekend. Your job, they think, is all long lunches with friends, surfing the internet and watching day-time telly while the little person amuses themselves and you complete the odd piece of work while they play quietly at your feet.
That’s not, to put it mildly, the whole story.
So in the interest of balancing perspectives, here’s a list of the top 10 things your office colleagues don’t do but which your home colleague almost certainly will:
- Come to the toilet with you and demand that you read The Very Hungry Caterpillar to them while you’re having a wee.
- Throw their breakfast / lunch / dinner on the floor and expect you to pick it up for them.
- Scream if you won’t let them eat your breakfast / lunch / dinner, despite you having gone out of your way to buy / prepare / give them their own.
- Demand to sit on your lap while you write an email and bash the keyboard as you try to type (on second thoughts, perhaps this does happen in some offices but I suspect that’s a different story).
- Grab the phone while you’re talking to your bank / doctor / employer / mum (anyone, really), press all the buttons and squeal down the line.
- Come into meetings with you and demand you give them a piggy back while your other colleagues look on slightly bemused and a little embarrassed.
- Never let you have a day off sick.
- When you are sick, still want you to read them books, build towers, make farm animal noises, take them to the park and run around the house pretending to be a cat.
- Come on holiday with you and expect you to do everything you’d normally do in your day-to-day job for the entire duration of your vacation.
- Show complete disregard for the European Working Time Directive: regularly demand you work through the night, rarely give you 11 hours off in each 24-hour period and giggle in the face of a 48-hour working week.
On the upside, your colleagues don’t laugh at all your jokes (not sincerely, anyway), hug you spontaneously for no obvious reason, develop at a rate of knots before your eyes and make a 20-hour day seem like a breeze with a single smile.
On balance, perhaps it’s not such a bad deal after all.