Throughout this series, we’ve been exploring the many facets and nuances of working from home. What comes to mind when you imagine working from home? Perhaps you envision avoiding commutes, wearing work pajamas, and eating from a refrigerator instead of a drive-through. These are all fine, and they’re completely real parts of working from home. But there’s another working from home dimension that’s more subtle. Working from home enhances responsibility.
Responsibility Toward Others
When you work from home, your sense of responsibility toward others is enhanced. While your coworkers cannot physically see you on a day-to-day basis, you feel a great sense of responsibility to make sure they know that you are available and willing to contribute. Being available by email, cell phone, and instant messaging ensures that coworkers know they can count on you.
Responsibility in Your Family Priorities
Many traditional employees struggle to balance tough deadlines and family priorities. Working from home enables you to take a break and reconnect with your family in a more flexible way. Walk the dog, spend time with your family over dinner, and put the kids to bed. Then you can go back to working hard, perhaps well into the evening. Even in light of a demanding work schedule, you can devote time to your family. Your responsibilities to your work and to your family are consistent: you care about your family, and you want to be a good provider.
Responsibility in Taking Care of Yourself
When you work from home, you actually run out of excuses for not eating right, exercising enough, or tending to your health concerns. Working at home helps you manage your time and frees you to be more responsible to yourself.
Get up a few minutes earlier and take a walk when the stars are still bright instead of allowing the morning’s priorities to hijack your day. Walk to your kitchen and make a salad instead of grabbing a convenience store burrito on the run. Lay down for a while if you’re feeling sick. Use that rest to help you rally and finish that last chapter that’s due today. And you will still be able to get up early the next day and come back to your desk to fight the good fight.
Responsibility in Becoming Who You Are Meant to Be
With the flexibility that comes with working from home, you are more free to recognize and strip away all of the obstacles—those real and imagined, imposed upon you by others and self-conceived—that prevent you from reaching your fullest, self-actualized potential.
Working from home is not for everyone. But if you have the blessing of a job that allows it, and the sense of responsibility and self-discipline, working from home can be a pathway to better understanding yourself and your place in the world.