8 Realities About Working From Home

Workin' Girl

"I wish I could be a housewife," one of my best friends said when I told her about my new journey as a full-time freelance writer.

I had to check her in the nicest way possible and let her know working from home is not as convenient or as glamorous as it looks. Sometimes it's actually more difficult than getting up and going to a job. While working from home has this appeal that automatically brings a level of envy from most people working a traditional 9-5, there are certainly good, bad, and ugly factors about the reality of it. The work-from-home concept is becoming more common and as someone who is fresh to the game, I feel like I have a responsibility to share my experience so far.

Let Freedom & Flexibility Ring

One of the most obvious benefits of working from home is the flexibility and freedom to set the tone for your day. Being able to set your own hours is nothing short of a win, whether you're working in freelance or full-time for a major company. I will say, sleeping in from time to time, eating lunch when I get good and ready, and even watching TV or a movie while I work (most of the time in my pajamas) is certainly one of the more positive sides of working from home, and probably what makes it appear to be super easy all the time. After all, it's one of the main reasons people like to go this route to begin with.

Without Discipline, You're Screwed

Even though the flexibility of working from home is nothing short of amazing, without discipline, it really doesn't matter, and you're much less likely to actually fulfill your maximum work potential and level of productivity. I would recommend setting a schedule and sticking to it. It's kind of a catch-22 because having the coveted flexibility can be a blessing and a curse when you're doing your own thing. As a freelance writer, I've found what works best for me is getting up as if I'm going to a job outside of my home. I might not always get dressed but it definitely makes a difference when I set my alarm and set hours that I want to write, when I want to take a break, and when I'll wrap up for the day.

It Could Throw Off With Your Work-Life Balance

Working from home also has the potential to interfere with your work-life balance. It's not as easy to clock out at 5:00, or whenever your goal time is, because you're already at home. It's not like you have to try and beat traffic to make it home by a certain time. This is true even more so when you're doing what you love. It's so easy for the day to fly by before you realize the sun has set and you're still working. This is another reason why making a schedule should be a priority as you take part in the work-from-home lifestyle.

It's A Money-Saver

Saving money on standard life expenses like gas, grabbing coffee, or going out to lunch daily is a major plus of being a part of the work-from-home community. Depending on the city you live in, if you work at home, you might not even need a car if the public transportation system is legit. This could save you hundreds of dollars a month alone. There's also no lunch meetings with co-workers, meaning you can load up on groceries and make a lunch instead of feeling obligated to go out to eat consistently.

Sidebar: While there are a number of tax breaks for those who work from home, if you're freelancing and your taxes aren't being taken out of your check, you definitely want to make sure you're setting money aside so you're not shocked when you file your taxes. I would recommend calling the IRS or speaking with a tax expert to determine how much you should save.

Related: The Best Way To Budget For Taxes When You Are Self-Employed

It Gets Redundant

Just like working in an office, working from home in the same environment every day can get super boring; especially if you're confined to a small space like a bedroom or separate room designated for work. Thankfully, this is a problem with an easy solution, considering all you have to do is switch up your environment to get a change of pace. Before recent events, I would have dubbed Starbucks as the go-to but there's also Panera Bread or a local library. A new scenery could also spark creativity and get you inspired and motivated.

It Can't Just Be You, Yourself… And You

Aside from working in the same room constantly, you have the potential of literally making yourself go crazy if you're at home alone all day; especially if you're an extrovert who thrives off of the energy of others. Yes, you can probably call a friend every once in a while, without worrying about coworkers who are side eyeing you for making private calls. But that can only do so much. I would suggest taking things a step further and going to lunch with a friend frequently or finding a group of people who also work from home that you can work with regularly. You can get together at a local coffee shop or make a rotation of whose house you'll work at one day a week. Either way, you have to have consistent face-to-face contact with peers so you don't go insane.

Your Fitness Is At A Minimum

Working from home doesn't require you to take nearly as many steps as working in an outside office. After all, your biggest commute is probably from the bed to the home office to the kitchen and back again. And in between there, you're most likely sitting pretty and stagnant, and doing what you love to do. Still, while the fitness is at a minimum from working from home, it can also be a positive too. A good idea is to schedule time to take a walk or do a quick workout video to make sure you keep moving.

You'll Be More Productive And Happier

Research shows those who work from home are not only more productive but also happier. Studies also revealed that working from home helps with efficiency and lowers stress. The freedom of working at your own pace combined with the satisfaction of being making minor and major moves as you check items off your daily to-do list brings a level of gratification and pleasure that will have you wanting to pat yourself on the back.

If you're thinking about taking that leap and working from home, it could definitely be a good move for you. Just keep in mind the realities of all that comes with it.

Featured image by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.


We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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