The 5 Stages of Working From Home, Told in GIFs

Working from home is both the best and the worst. And if you’ve been a home-based worker for any stretch of time, you’ve no doubt encountered the many joys and sorrows that come with having your office in the same location as the place where you eat/sleep/watch TV/ spend time with your family etc etc etc.

Home-based workers all tend to follow a very similar path, progressing through a variety of stages that always take them to the same place. If you’ve been there, then laugh along with us as we recount the amazing and terrible things that happen when you work from home – and if you haven’t been there yet but will be there soon…do yourself a favour and check out coworking first. Because trust us…working from home gets old after a while.


Stage 1: The Pajama Party

Shiba Inu Typing GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY


This is the stage that we all LOVED when we started working from home. No more having to set your alarm for ungodly-o’clock. No more having to attend morning pow-wows with the higher-ups where the ra-ra-go-get-’em speeches become cheesy to the point that they make you physically ill.

Instead, you can just wake up whenever you feel like, pour yourself a coffee, mosey on over to your desk, and waste time on Facebook before you get to some work. And if you don’t have a shower or get dressed at all that day? Nobody cares because nobody’s going to see you – it’s not like you have to leave the house today.

In other words: You get to take your time, and you love it.


Stage 2: The “Om” Office

Dream Home GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Ok, so you’ve started getting used to this “work from home” thing and now you’ve got to get to some work. But at least you’re not rushed to get anywhere. You can take your time on projects. You can structure your day the way you want. And yes, you do have to get work done, but at the same time, it’s kind of nice to be able to pace yourself.

(Plus, now you can watch the latest episode of General Hospital live instead of having to wait for the rerun.)

You can do your morning meditations, look out the window and enjoy the nature, and really take some time to yourself while getting your work done. There’s just one problem…


Stage 3: Food and Pets and TV Shows, Oh My!

Distracted? Me? No, sir.

This is the stage where distraction becomes a serious problem. Instead of focusing on work during your set work hours (which are really only guidelines anyway, right?) you realize that you have to fold the laundry or you have to do the dishes or you’re feeling a little hungry so let’s just make a quick snack before we get to our work.

And since you’re making a snack, you might as well feed/groom/walk the dog, let the cat out (and in, and then out again, and then back in – make up your mind, Mittens!), turn on the TV and take a break, right?

4 hours later, your spouse/kids/roommates come home, and you reflect on what you did that day and it’s a confusing mess of daytime television plots. That’s when you realize you just spent half your workday watching Alex Trebek argue passionately with Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg about whether Tabitha was right to brainwash Charity into killing Miguel after Jerry Springer said he’s not the father.

(Or, more realistically given that it’s the 21st century, Netflix judgmentally asks you if you’re still watching Fuller House.)


Stage 4: Existential Despair

Sad Doctor Who GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

In this stage, you’ll ponder a variety of riddles as you try to escape a mental prison of your own making, the bars forged by isolation, depression, anxiety, and boredom.

If I never leave my house, then in a sense I am one with it. I am it. Do I own the house or does the house own me?

My laptop and printer are permanently living on the dining room table. Is it truly a dining table if only one end of it is used for dining?

What is the sound of one mind working?

You’ll realize that despite your days having no structure, you’ve nonetheless fallen into an unhealthy routine of sleeping all day, working all night, and planning out which coffee shop you’ll visit on which day, just so you can say you left the house.

You’ll realize that you started working from home so that you could be happy, but all you’ve found is boredom and misery. And you’ll realize that something has to change.


Stage 5: Recovery

Unbreakable GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Ok, so working from home isn’t as awesome as you thought it would be. The coffee shop hop is getting too expensive, you’re doing all your work well after midnight, and on the rare occasions that you do see your friends, you notice that you’ve kind of forgotten how to actually talk to them. Maybe people tell you that you’ve stopped looking them in the eye. Or that you’re not the same as you used to be.

In other words: Social isolation has taken its toll on your sanity, and you need out.

So you fire up Google and search for offices, and you find a coworking space.

You schedule an appointment. You walk in the door, see the people, smell the coffee, and feel a little out of your element – like you’re not sure how to do the office-y thing anymore.

And that’s when someone gives you a big smile and a hot cup of coffee, and tells you that everything is going to be okay. You’re safe now. We’ve all been where you are, and the great news is that we get to feel like people again.

And while you don’t quite feel like yourself just yet, you feel…something. Something different. Something you didn’t know you were missing.

That’s when you realize you’ve finally figured out how to make this “work from home” thing work…by not working from home.

Get back your sanity! We’ve just launched the Winter Survival Kit.

Become a coLab member today and receive 50% OFF the first two months of membership, plus 6 weeks exclusive access to our Winter Survival Kit, including promos, guest content, giveaways and more. The Kit comes equipped with everything you and your business needs to stay happy, healthy and productive all the way through ‘til spring!

Not sure about membership? Get a FREE trial day of coworking with no strings attached.