There is no dress code when you work from home

canstockphoto6446653I’m writing this sipping a cup of coffee and with a cat on my lap. I’m wearing yoga pants and a flannel shirt. Maybe I will take a shower – maybe I won’t.

It’s snowing. I‘m glad that I don’t have to shovel out and drive to work. I’m already at work. I’m working from home.

Perhaps you have thought it would be nice to work from home, too. Perhaps you’ve found yourself working from home during one of our many snowstorms this winter.

Granted, not every job can be performed from home and it’s not for everyone. But for those who do work from home, advantages often outweigh the disadvantages.

For Carol Higgins Taylor, who operates Bryant Street Public Relations from her home office in Bangor, it is the quiet she enjoys most about working from home.

“The level of concentration I achieve in the peacefulness is great,” she said.

But having access to her work all the time presents challenges.

“It’s very tempting to work all the time. It’s about finding balance,” Taylor said.

Taylor, who previously worked in an office environment, worried she might get lonely.

“I always loved working in a bustling office, but sometimes it was easy to lose focus because of constant interruptions,” she said. “I have more control over the interruptions at home and I’m more creative. I have enough interaction with clients so I don’t lack for social interaction.”

Kristi Bartlett of Brewer works from home as a professional blogger and blog designer while home-schooling her three children. Working from home allows her to earn an income while caring for her family.

“I like that I can be home but also connected to people all over the world,” Bartlett said. “I’m feeding my creative side but also living my dream of being a stay-at-home mom.”

Getting work done can be a challenge for Bartlett with all the activity in her house.

“My kids know when I have my computer open that I’m working and can entertain themselves for a little while,” Bartlett said.

She often works late at night after the kids are in bed to meet deadlines.

Bartlett said that although she loves working from home, it presents challenges.

“It can be hard for people to understand that while I may be home I am still working and can’t drop everything for an unexpected visit,” she said.

Derek Dorr of Lewiston agreed that working from home can lead to the perception that you’re not really working. Dorr works as a writer and operates an insurance agency out of his garage-turned-office.

“Many people see working from home as a vacation or somehow easier — it isn’t,” he said.

Dorr mentioned that other challenges include sometimes feeling isolated, staying focused and working too much.

But for Dorr, the advantages of working from home far outweigh the negatives. He shares a house with his wife, three children, parents and pets.  Working from home gives him the flexibility to be there for his family. He enjoys being able to put his son on the bus to go to kindergarten and meet the bus when he comes home.

“His smile when he runs across the street to me is one of the highlights of my day,” said Dorr.

Suz Norton shares an apartment with her cat in Bangor. Norton works from her living room for a health insurance company. The biggest challenge for Norton is feeling isolated.

“I’m a social person so it’s important for me to get out of the house and do something social after work,” Norton said.

But overall Norton says she loves being able to work from home.

“It’s nice to not have to get up and drive to work,” Norton said. “I’m more productive, focused and driven without the distractions of working in a traditional office.”

If you’re considering working from home, Taylor, Bartlett, Dorr and Norton agree that you need to be organized and establish a schedule to make it work.  If possible, establish a space in your home that is your work area. To avoid interruptions, set boundaries with family and friends.

They also stress that it’s important to still get dressed and get out of the house!


Deb Neuman

About Deb Neuman

Deb thinks Maine is a great place to do business and loves telling the stories of Mainers proving that it can be done! An entrepreneur at heart, she enjoys helping others with the same drive to create and innovate!